Cache County Council to juggle salary hot potato tonight

Members of the Cache County Council will vote on the "uncomfortable" issue of compensation levels for elected officials during their 5 p.m. meeting at the Cache County Historic Courthouse tonight.

CACHE COUNTY – Members of the Cache County Council will have to fish or cut bait on the issue of compensation for elected officials at their meeting tonight.

At their previous meeting on Dec. 7, the council members were scheduled to vote on County Ordinance 2021-25, setting compensation levels for elected officials, including their own.

Instead, the panel blinked, tabling the issue until their meeting at 5 p.m. tonight.

Their discussion of the compensation question was nearly a repeat of a debate in December of 2020, when the members of the council denied themselves a significant pay raise by a split vote during their final meeting of last year.

The current compensation level is $12,925 for council members and $14,725 for the council chair, according to County Ordinance 2020-16.

The previous council members voted to approve that ordinance, after rejecting a motion from Councilman Gordon A. Zilles for a $3,000 pay hike that would have raised council members’ compensation to $15,925.

A year ago, Zilles argued that a significant pay hike was justified given the complexity of council members’ assignments; the demands on their time; and the fact that their compensation levels had fallen far behind those of their counterparts in other counties over the years.

During that debate in 2020, council member Gina Worthen urged that objective recommendations on compensation levels for elected officials should come from the County Compensation Committee rather than council members themselves.

Recommendations from that committee were incorporated into Ordinance 2021-25. Those proposed compensation levels for 2022 were a hike of $3,472 for the council’s chair to $18,197 and an increase of $3,975 for council members to $16,000 annually.

Despite those objective salary recommendations, the council members agreed that it was “uncomfortable” to be asked to vote themselves a pay raise.

The compensation committee’s recommendations also included salary hikes for other elected officials that raised the eyebrows of some council members.

Those salary recommendations for county officers in 2022 were $129,019 for County Executive/Surveyor; $107,476 for County Assessor; $146,467 for County Attorney; $104,826 for County Clerk/Auditor; $99,552 for County Recorder; $99,575 for County Treasurer; and $113,640 for County Sheriff.

Council member David Erickson observed, however, that the president of the United States receives no pay raises during his term of office and wondered if elected officials shouldn’t have to be satisfied with the compensation level at which he or she was elected.

The Cache County Council is scheduled to meeting at 5 p.m. tonight in the Council Chambers of the Cache County Historic Courthouse at 199 North Main Street in downtown Logan.

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