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County board sets minimum salaries at $5k

Wadena County commissioners set a $5,000 minimum yearly salary for the elected positions of auditor/treasurer, sheriff, county recorder and county attorney at its first meeting of 2010.

Auditor/ Treasurer Char West said that every four years during the first meeting of an election year the county needs to set the minimum salary for these positions. She presented the board with two options. One resolution sets the minimum salaries for the next terms for elected officials at the same as what those positions currently make, which ranges from $44,090.59 for the county recorder to $83,821.62 for the county attorney. The other resolution directly quotes Minnesota statute and says the minimum salary for these positions can't be less than $5,000 per year in counties with a population between 10,000 and 20,000.

"I would prefer to set it at the minimum of $5,000 because if someone comes into one of these four positions that does not have the experience of the person in it now, say they would not get reelected or not rerun, I don't think they should start at that salary," said Commissioner Dave Schermerhorn. "You don't walk into some other job [when] somebody retires and start at their salary. You start at the bottom."

Commissioner Rodney Bounds said he totally agreed with Schermerhorn.

"Because last time there was somebody [who] walked in at the previous person's salary," Bounds said.

West said the county attorney and county sheriff started at the previous position holders' salaries.

Commissioner Lane Waldahl seconded Schermerhorn's motion.

"Because what we're doing is following state statute," Waldahl said.

The board approved the motion.