Utah County's commissioners, attorney and sheriff make about 23 percent less than their Salt Lake County counterparts, but it's unlikely they'll receive a salary hike any time soon.
Because of mid-year budget restraints, County Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck this week rejected a recommended salary hike for elected officials despite the disparity. The commission has tentatively approved nearly $300,000 in mid-year budget reductions to make up anticipated revenue shortfalls.County elected officials have had no salary increase since July 1985 despite a Consumer Price Index Urban rise of 8.63 percent, personnel director John McGinn told commissioners in a letter dated June 20.
While the Salt Lake County commissioners and attorney make $58,302 annually, their Utah County counterparts earn $44,616. The local auditor and sheriff earn $42,614, while the same positions in Salt Lake County draw $55,536. The Utah County assessor, clerk, recorder, surveyor and treasurer make 15.4 percent less than their Salt Lake County counterparts.
"I recommend that the COLA (ost-of-living adjustment) of 1.56 percent effective June 27, 1988, be applied to elected officials as well as other Utah County employees and that any future across-the-board increase based on the CPI-U also be granted to elected officials," McGinn said in the letter.
"While some individuals and groups express ongoing concern over salaries of elected officials in general, the Utah County elected officials are not being equitably compensated."
While elected officials will receive no salary hike, the Utah County Employees Association feels the cost-of-living adjustment for county career-service employees should be double the 1.56 percent.
"In 1987 no COLA was granted, and longevity increases were awarded on each employee's anniversary date," the employees association told commissioners in a letter dated June 20.
"We feel it would be fair to use a median date of June 1987 for the beginning of this COLA period. The cost-of-living increase for the period of June 1987 to April 1988 is 3.2 percent. We feel a COLA of 3.2 percent would be fair to all employees."
Beck, however, said a 1.56 percent cost-of-living hike this month is adequate in light of merit increases approved earlier this year and reclassifications approved last year. The cost-of-living hike goes into effect Monday and will be followed by another adjustment in December.
"We don't think employees have lost any money because of (mplementation of) the reclassification and merit increases," he said. Besides, Beck added, cost-of-living adjustments typically are unfair.
A county employee making $30,000 annually gets a much larger raise from a 1.56 percent cost-of-living adjustment than an employee making half that amount, Beck said.
"Some people take it in the shorts," he said. "The separation between the top and the bottom just gets wider and wider. But that's how COLA works. You're always behind with COLA."
Elected officials' salaries
Elected office Salt Lake County Utah County
Commissioner $58,302 $44,616
Attorney $58,302 $44,616
Auditor $55,536 $42,614
Sheriff $55,536 $42,614
Assessor $50,377 $42,614
Clerk $50,377 $42,614
Recorder $50,377 $42,614
Surveyor $50,377 $42,614
Treasurer $50,377 $42,614