County levels pay for elected officials

County levels pay for elected officials by David Lias The Clay County Commission agreed Tuesday to set the pay for Clay County Auditor Ruth Brunick, Clay County Treasurer Catherine Powell, and Clay County Register of Deeds Ruth Lynch at the same level as Clay County Assessor Leonard Rasmussen.

Brunick, Powell and Lynch, who all hold elected positions with the county, watched their pay levels fall behind those of the assessor�s position approximately two years ago.

Back then, the commission decided that the duties of the assessor�s position justified a higher rate of pay than the auditor, treasurer and register of deeds positions.

Commissioner Paul Hasse indicated Tuesday that he still endorses that philosophy when it comes to establishing pay increases for the four positions.

Brunick noted that the commission had decided last year to level the playing field and set the salary levels for the four offices at the same amount.

Last year, Brunick, Powell and Lynch each earned $27,034. Rasmussen earned $27,500.

Hasse told fellow commissioners that he believed Brunick, Powell and Lynch were attempting to receive larger pay raises than had been discussed earlier.

�What they want is a $1,400 increase and there�s no justification for it,� Hasse said.

Brunick noted that the commission�s earlier agreement called for increasing the annual pay for the auditor, treasurer and register of deeds position by $1,000 in 2000.

Rasmussen�s yearly salary for 2000 was increased by $534, so the four county employees� yearly pay for this year is now $28,034.

Commissioners also approved pay raises for other county employees. The sheriff�s department employees received a 2.6 percent cost of living increase. Two people in the department also will receive step increases. Workers in the county highway department received 30 cent per hour raises, the same as last year. Deputies, clerks and secretaries in other departments received step raises of $600 or $900.

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