Salaries for county officials to be discussed

Commissioners froze salaries for all electd officials for 2012 through 2014.

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WALLA WALLA - Salaries for Walla Walla County elected officials will be up for discussion Monday.

County commissioners are scheduled to consider setting elected officers' salaries for 2015-2016. The matter will come before commissioners at 11:15 a.m., said Connie Vinti, clerk of the board.

"Public comment will be accepted and is invited by commissioners on this subject," Vinti said.

Possible action on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday's meeting.

Commissioners opened discussion at their April 24 meeting. At that time county Auditor Karen Martin and county Assessor Debra Antes asked to be allowed to research the issue and present a recommendation to the board.

Commissioners froze salaries for all elected officials, including themselves, starting in 2012 due to the economic downturn. The freeze extends through 2014. By law, commissioners must decide on adjusting elected officials' salaries prior to the filing week for elections, which will begin on May 14 this year.

In a letter to commissioners, Antes and Martin said they felt the economy will recover in the next few years.

"Until we have a good understanding of the full extent of the recovery we would like to adhere to the (county) courthouse union contract negotiations for the past year and what we feel will be the result of future negotiations," they wrote.

According to the letter, the 2012 contract for unionized courthouse employees increased salaries by 3.5 percent and an expected 2013 and 2014 increase of 2.16 percent, based on the 80 percent of the Seattle Consumer Price Index for March of 2012.

Antes and Martin proposed an increase in the elected officials' salaries of 7 percent for 2015 and an additional 3.5 percent for 2016.

The letter was also signed by county Clerk Kathy Martin and county Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Current Salaries for WW Elected Officials

Assessor, auditor, clerk, treasurer and commissioners - $68,851

Sheriff - $91,626

Coroner - $55,081

Prosecuting Attorney - $124,200

(Note: The prosecuting attorney's salary is paid in part by the county and in part by the state. The county's share, as set by the 2010 resolution, is $49,784 for 2012 through 2014 and the state's share is one-half of the annual amount of a Superior Court judge's salary. According to the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, the 2012 salary for Superior Court judges is $148,832 and one-half of that is $74,416.)

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