2017-12-06 / Front Page

County elected pay below average

BY ERIC LEVINE
810-452-2689 • elevine@mihomepaper.com

All six Sanilac County elected officials are paid below the average of their counterparts in comparable sized counties.

That is the conclusion of a recently completed wage comparison study that was scheduled for discussion by county commissioners on Tuesday.

Commissioners hired Municipal Consulting Services earlier in the year to survey how elected officials’ pay stacked up against officials elsewhere in the state.

The decision to conduct the study came after the six officials – clerk, drain commissioner, prosecutor, register of deeds, sheriff and treasurer – complained last April that the salary gap with their counterparts in 12 counties had widened since the last study in 2014.

Commissioner Dan Dean stated at the April meeting that the unofficial consensus at the time of the 2014 study was to conduct a new study in five years.

However, he acknowledged the gap had widened since the study, despite the four and a half percent raise over two years for the six officials that was approved in February.

In their survey, Municipal Consulting Services used the same 12 counties that were in the 2014 comparison study: Branch, Cass, Clare, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Huron, Lapeer, Mason, Mecosta, Newago, Oceana and Tuscola.

The survey showed all six Sanilac officials receiving a salary lower than the market average wage of their counterparts.

Here are the results:

• Prosecutor, $91,910; market average, $96,755

• Sheriff, $69,845; market average, $74,368

• County Clerk, $55,611; market average, $59,821

• Register of Deeds, $53,606; market average, $56,480

• Drain Commissioner, $52,411; market average, $53,756

• Treasurer, $55,551; market average, $58,942.

While the consulting firm made no recommendations on possible wage adjustments, it did offer comments on the experience the county’s elected leaders bring to their positions: “The professional leadership exhibited by the six incumbents should be one important factor in determining fair and equitable compensation.”

Commissioners were expected to discuss the study during the Dec. 5 finance and administration committee.

Commissioners Gary Heberling, chairman of the committee, did not anticipate he or the committee would have a recommendation ready on Tuesday.

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