Cerro Gordo County Compensation Board recommends 3% pay increases for elected officials, 6% for sheriff

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Compensation Board is recommending three percent raises in the salaries of most of the county’s elected officials as part of the next fiscal year budget starting July 1st.

The seven member board consisting of two members appointed by the Board of Supervisors with one member representing each of the other elected officials meets each December to make salary recommendations to the supervisors as part of the budget process.

Board member Bill Cody says the three-percent recommendation is consistent with the board’s previous decisions when looking at economic factors. “Inflation is down from last year big time. The cost of living adjustment for Social Security is down from last year. Last year we were looking at doing a 6% increase across the board, so I think probably based on the history of what it is right now probably are looking at a 3% increase.”

The salary of Sheriff Kevin Pals has to be determined differently due to the “Back the Blue” law passed by the Iowa Legislature in 2021. It mandates county sheriff pay is at a rate comparable to police chiefs in cities of similar population to the respective counties as well as comparable to State Patrol and Division of Criminal Investigation professional administrators and command officers. The board recommended a 6% pay raise for Pals. Board member Jim Finstad says that 6% raise correlates with the raise other officers will be getting.   “Maybe a good way to look at it would be to do it similar to what the deputies are doing. Do a 6% for next year for the sheriff to get him up closer to that average, but it’s still not jumping him up higher than the deputies who are on the street. That would match what his patrol officers on the street are getting.”

The Board of Supervisors as part of the budget process are not allowed by law to approve anything higher than the board’s recommendation, but they can freeze or cut their own pay. The supervisors for the last seven fiscal years have frozen their own pay while accepting most of the Compensation Board’s other recommendations.