PROVO — Elected officials in Utah County will be getting raises.

The Utah County Commission voted Tuesday to raise salaries for elected officials — including themselves.

A market study recently showed that Utah County officials made significantly less than officials of other counties in the same category.

Commissioner Gary Anderson said the raises are necessary to lure qualified people to run for an elected office.

"You get what you pay for," he said.

"We have the best set of elected officials in the history of this county, period," Anderson said. "I want to keep them."

The commission's action raises commissioners' annual salaries from about $94,700 to almost $104,000, a 9.7 percent increase. Raises for other elected county officials ranged from 7.2 percent for sheriff Jim Tracy and assessor Kris Poulson to 9.7 percent for county attorney Jeff Buhman and clerk/auditor Bryan Thompson.

Because the duties of certain positions don't match up perfectly with each county, the market study compared Utah County salaries to Davis, Salt Lake and Weber counties and in some cases to Provo and Orem.

The personnel department looked at all the numbers and then made a recommendation to the commission, said Lana Jensen, the Utah County personnel director.

The item came before the commission last week, but commission members wanted extra time to look through the different options.

Commissioner Steve White, who joined the meeting electronically for this agenda item, said he preferred a lower dollar amount option than what was chosen.

He said he thought they could function with lower salaries.

Commissioner Larry Ellertson said he wanted to "try and put it (salaries) where the market shows."

Commissioners recently raised all county employee salaries to try to retain county employees. The county attorney's office has lost five attorneys in two years to Salt Lake County and West Valley City because the salaries offered there were so much higher.

Buhman said the commission was doing a smart thing for two reasons. One, because county employees felt suspicious that the elected officials in the past had a different market study cycle, and, second, because they thought the salaries weren't based on true market comparisons.

"From my perspective, the county commission is doing the right thing by comparing apples to apples," he said.

Because county officials knew the market study and salary increases would come this year, they set aside money in this year's budget to accommodate the pay increases, which negates a tax increase, clerk/auditor Thompson said.

The new salaries will take effect at the next county pay period, July 3.


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