The Cass County Board of Supervisors discussed at-length Wednesday morning, a recommendation by the County Compensation Board, to provide Sheriff Darby McLaren and County Attorney Dan Feistner, a seven-percent increase in compensation, and a 3.5-percent compensation increase for other elected officials in the courthouse (including the Treasurer, Recorder, and Board of Supervisors). Board member Mark Wedemeyer made a motion to decline that recommendation.
Wedemeyer’s motion was to reduce the recommendation by 100-percent and come back with a recommendation for a three-percent across the board increase, which he said would “Keep everything a lot smoother in the courthouse.” Wedemeyer said he could not vote for a seven-percent increase for the Sheriff and Attorney. Board Chair Frank Waters indicated he also was opposed to a seven-percent increase for the County’s top two law officers.
Supervisor Chuck Rieken agreed the Board could reduce the recommendation to zero, but does not have the authority to come back in and set the rate at three-percent. Rieken said Iowa Code says the Compensation Board will make the recommendation. Wedemeyer says there the Code doesn’t say it can’t be done.
Auditor Dale Sunderman also said the Board does have the authority to reduce the recommendation to zero, according to Code. But the Board also cannot exceed the compensation schedule recommended by the Compensation Board. At the end of discussion, the Board voted three-to-two against the motion, with Chairman Frank Waters and Wedemeyer voting in favor, Duane McFadden, Chuck Rieken and Gaylord Schelling voting against.
The vote does NOT mean the Board approved the Compensation Board’s recommendation. The final schedule of pay, which may be adjusted, will follow a public hearing on the budget at a later date. In the interim, the Board agreed to have County Attorney Dan Feistner research with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, an opinion on the validity of Wedemeyer’s argument that the Supervisors can respond with an alternate rate of compensation.