By Kyle Siegel
This past Thursday, Nov. 7, the Pettis County Salary Commission met to discuss the salary increase of Pettis County elected officials. The discussion included the option to approve a percentage increase of salaries for said officials. The commission voted for an increase of two percent in pay per year. It was put to a vote and passed 11-2. This salary increase does not include some elected officials, such as judges and the prosecutor.
Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan spoke with the News-Journal concerning the details of the increase as well as information which helped the commission reach their decision.
“The salary commission is required to meet every other year in an odd year. We are required by statute. The county commission put in place a plan to raise the salary of our staff at one percent annually. In order to do this professionally, I garnered information which included the elected official’s salaries for every other county across the state. From that I made a comparison with Pettis County elected officials and officials from the contiguous counties,” Meehan explained.
He continued by adding, “When I did that, Pettis County officials were earning $500-1000 more than those elected officials annually. Then I compared Pettis County elected official’s salaries with those counties of similar assessed valuations. When I did that, Pettis County elected officials on average were earning $3,000 to $6,000 less.
“The third analysis was between comparing the elected officials in Pettis County to those counties with a similar population. To me, that made the most sense. In that comparison our elected officials are earning between $500 and $1,400 less than these counties.”
The Pettis County Salary Commission is made up of 13 elected Pettis County officials. Per state statutes, elected officials cannot vote for a salary increase for themselves. The two percent increase will begin after the next election period for those officials. For example, if the position is up for election in 2014, whoever is elected would be sworn in on January 1, 2015. This is when the increase would begin.
Meehan was asked how the process of the meeting went and how the commission came to their decision.
“All I did was present the info, because I serve on that committee as a member. I brought the information to the committee so they could make an intelligent decision,” Meehan said.
“The committee then voted and approved a two percent annual salary increase, which computes to between $500 and $1,100 additional per elected official annually. I believe that all elected officials believe that the most valuable county asset is the county staff and employees. The commission will continue to do all it can to offer a fair wage for dedicated county service,” he said.