In a split decision, the Cache County Council once again denied a pay raise for four county elected officials during its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 12.

CACHE COUNTY – Nobody got a pay raise at the regular meeting of the Cache County Council on June 12.

Council Vice Chair Paul Borup had requested that the council revisit the issue of pay hikes for four of the county’s elected officials.

But it quickly became apparent that Borup wanted to obtain a retroactive pay raise for County Treasurer Craig McAllister, while leaving County Executive David Zook, Clerk/Auditor Jess Bradfield and Recorder Devron Anderson out in the cold again.

In a workshop session earlier in the day, County Human Resources Director Amy Adams had presented the council members with Ordinance 2022-22, which would have raised compensation levels for the county executive to $129,014, the county clerk/auditor to $104,826, the county recorder to $99,552 and the county treasurer to $99,575.

I move to waive the rules and divide the resolution,” Borup said Tuesday evening, after a public hearing drew no comment, “to consider the treasurer separately and approve the raise recommended by the Compensation Committee of $99,575 effective Jan. 1 (of 2022).”

In the discussion that followed, council member Gina Worth suggested a list of criteria by which elected officials could be judged when making salary decisions.

“Last time,” she recalled, “there was some angst about whether we were being fair. So, I through that it might be helpful if we had a list of criteria to look at.”

Worthen’s suggestions included the elected officials’ demonstration of efficiency, e.g. how well they manage money; their professionalism, honesty and integrity; their professional competence; their length of time in office; and, their professional certification, among other criteria.

But council member Nolan Gunnell said that trying to apply those criteria to elected officials would put the council in the awkward position of second-guessing the voters of Cache County.

Council member Gordon Zilles agreed, urging that the council endorse the recommendations of the Compensation Committee.

“I’m totally in agreement with Nolan,” Council Chair Barbara Tidwell added. “The voters elected these people to their offices. I don’t think that it’s our responsibility as a council to … let’s call it … micromanage.”

Tidwell called the vote on Borup’s motion, which failed to pass in the absence of a tie-breaking vote from council member Karl Ward, who was excused from the meeting.

Zilles then made a motion, seconded by Gunnell, to accept the pay hike recommended by the Compensation Committee effective July 1, 2022.

Council member David Erickson dominated the discussion that followed, repeating many of the same arguments he used in January to oppose the pay hikes for the county executive, the clerk/auditor, the recorder and treasurer.

He also raised the question of whether it would be necessary to reopen the county budget or raise taxes to pay for the proposed salary hikes.

In the final vote on the issue, the council split once again. Zilles, Gunnell and Tidwell voted in favor of the resolution, while Ericksen and Worthen voted “nay” and Borup delivered his trademark abstention.

In January, the County Compensation Committee recommended that all county elected department heads receive the same 7 percent pay increase for 2022 as other county employees.

Members of the compensation committee also recommended a 20 percent pay hike for County Council members and a 31 percent for Council Chair Barbara Y. Tidwell.

Council members didn’t blink at their own proposed pay hike, but debate was heated over compensation levels for elected officials.

After much discussion, Erickson suggested that a 7 percent pay raise might be appropriate for elected officials that are professionally qualified for their positions, but not for all elected officials.

In a motion, Erickson identified credentialed elected officials deserving of the 7 percent pay increase as the county attorney, the county assessor and the sheriff.

Approval of that motion set compensation levels for council members at $16,000 annually, up from $13,332, a 20 percent increase. The 2022 compensation for the council’s chair was set at $20,000 (plus a $1,200 vehicle stipend), up from $15,163, a 31 percent increase.

Annual compensation for County Attorney John Luthy was set at $146,467, up from $136,885; for County Assessor Kathleen Howell at $107,476, up from $100,444; and Sheriff Chad Jensen at $113,640, up from $106,205.

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