Board OKs sheriff, treasurer, county clerk pay hikes

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Simms: Meyers deserves more

Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen broke a 13-13 tie to approve salary increases for the county clerk, county treasurer and county sheriff.

Winnebago County Clerk David Johnson (whose term is ending) and Winnebago County Treasurer Susan Goral would earn nearly $76,650 and cost-of-living adjustments from 2007 through 2010. Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyers will now earn $107,102, up from his current salary of more than $97,000. The salary increases go into effect in December.

Meyers’ raise also includes annual cost-of-living adjustments 2007 through 2010. But County Board member Tim Simms (R-14) said Meyers deserves more and moved to increase the raise to $114,000—new Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson’s starting salary.

“I certainly think (Meyers) is worth as much as (Epperson),” Simms said.

He said Meyers should be earning at least that much, since he’s charged with more duties than Epperson.

“(Meyers) doesn’t stop at the city limits,” Simms said.

He said Meyers is responsible for things like the County’s two 911 centers and the bomb squad. Simms also noted since the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t patrol the Rock River, it falls under the Sheriff’s department’s jurisdiction.

County Board member Mary Ann Aiello (R-9) didn’t support the salary increases. Aiello said the 2002 salary increases made are more than sufficient. Those increases, set for 2002 to 2006, included cost-of-living adjustments.

“I do think when we adjusted their salaries, we gave them a very fair compensation package. We should keep them as they are,” she said.

But County Board member Rick Pollack (R-13) isn’t convinced voters would be happy with it.

“This community doesn’t want to pay for it,” Pollack said.

County Board member Gary Jury (R-3) said the pay raises are only part of the issue.

“It’s not all about raises, it’s what comes with those raises,” Jury said.

Jury said he was referring to the larger pensions the County officials will receive.

“The more money you make, the larger the pension,” he said, during a May 30 interview.

County Board member John Harmon (R-4) moved to extend the 2002 resolution. When Harmon needed clarification about whether a motion was even needed, Aiello said the 2002 resolution could be left as is until 2012. County Board member Pete MacKay (R-5) concurred.

“Let’s just defeat (the salary increases) and forget (they were) ever brought up,” MacKay said.

From the May 32-June 6, 2006, issue

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