Archive for Monday, December 18, 2006

Douglas County Commission boosts its own pay by $11,000 a year

The pay increases are based on a survey of the pay received by county officials in other Kansas counties

December 18, 2006


Douglas County Commissioners today gave themselves and other elected department heads a pay raise.

Commissioners will see their pay increase next month from $21,507 to $32,552.

Other pay raises are: Sheriff Ken McGovern, $87,464 to $104,104; Treasurer Paula Gilchrist, $58,411 to $68,369; County Clerk Jamie Shew $56,264 to $68,369; and Register of Deeds Kay Pesnell, $63,044 to $71,801.

The pay increases are based on a survey of the pay received by county officials in other Kansas counties. The survey was conducted by Assistant County Administrator Pam Madl.

The raises were approved at this morning's commission meeting.


Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 3 months ago

wow was busy yesterday and did not see this what the heck?? all I got to say.

Bud Stagg 11 years, 3 months ago

wow a 30% pay increase in 1 year. Isn't that great! They must be doing an outstanding job. All the roads are paved, the water meters are all in, the planning for the next year is all in place...

midwestmom 11 years, 3 months ago

Commisioner McElhaney must have went "shopping" again and realized that the bare necessities of bread, peanut butter and a gallon of gas has gone way Jere, does that mean the county employees are entitled to a 30% raise, too?

mjk123 11 years, 3 months ago

Well isn't that nice that they'd give themselves a 30% raise, can't wait for elections to roll around. They certainly haven't earned that type of increase in one year. I know that lots residents out by the bridge can't wait to see them all go, this just adds to it.

rhd99 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, all pay & no work makes for a real dull day in this county's government. Put your money where your mouths are, Commisses.

Keith 11 years, 3 months ago

More small government from the thrifty Republican majority?

napoleon969 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow!!! You'd think these folks think they work for a school district or something. Remember this raise come election time.

Unix_Admin 11 years, 3 months ago

They must have heard about the plan to try and increase the minimum wage in Lawrence and are just trying to lead by example. You just can't put a price on that kind of leadership. Well OK, obviously you can-my bad.

girly 11 years, 3 months ago

Seems like the people should vote on whether or not their elected officals should have a pay raise.

jayheel 11 years, 3 months ago

The only time an elected official deserves a pay raise is if the overal budget is kept in a year taxes are lowered. I don't believe this happened in Lawrence. $11K a year is too much for a this commission. Merry Christmas.

mom_of_three 11 years, 3 months ago

Isn't the County Commissioner really just a part time position, since the Commisioners hold or recently did hold full time jobs?
Wish I could make that much at a part time job. I know families wishing they could make that much in a full time job. I know I do.

youngitized 11 years, 3 months ago

You crackpots, I wish the people could vote on the pay raises. This is not right whatsoever. Thanks a lot County Commission.

hipper_than_hip 11 years, 3 months ago

It's sad that the commissioners will accept the findings of a salary survey of their peers when they're looking for a raise, but the commissioners refuse to even consider the findings of salary surveys for their employees.

Julie Jacob 11 years, 3 months ago

calculated that is actually a 51.352% raise

newsreader 11 years, 3 months ago

Yes, it is a 51% raise... damn, I was happy when I got a 4% raise last raise...

rhd99 11 years, 3 months ago

I know, how about a PAY RAISE of 56% for all workers in Lawrence who earn BELOW minimum wage. Eat dust, government!

salad 11 years, 3 months ago

they should print the salaries of the dozens ( and I mean DOZENS) of school district administrators. They make obscene amounts of money for doing....well, whatever it is that they do; no one has really nailed this one down. they aren't elected either and the buddies on the board control how much they get paid. The AVERAGE administrator makes over $70,000!!! Talk about your tax payer rip-off.

rhd99 11 years, 3 months ago

Not just here, but everywhere in government, those who get FIRED from their jobs will NOT receive any pension. Take that to the bank, if I ever run for elected office.

estespark 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't have a problem with the Sheriff's salary - the upper echelon of local government should pay very well - otherwise you'll end up with Rosco and Enos.

The issue I have is not with the folks making 6 figures (ie Director of Public Works, City Attorney, Fire Chief, etc) but rather the knuckleheads that are almost making six figures - they far outnumber the officials making 100K - kind of gets back to what Salad was saying.

Quigebo 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey guys and gals, perhaps you need to look at those numbers a little more closely. A raise from $21,507 to $32,552 is a 51.4% raise NOT a 30% raise. A 30% raise would be $6452, making a total of $27,959.

Again, that is a 51.4% raise!

Steve Jacob 11 years, 3 months ago

How much does the city commission make? Not even close to the $32K.

Baille 11 years, 3 months ago

Damn. The county officials are making a killing. $70k to be Register of Deeds?

H2Hummer 11 years, 3 months ago

I believe you can petition this action for a public vote.

If a certain number of registered voters sign a petition the raises are put on hold until a public vote is concluded!

Am I wrong?


LJWorld should request and publish a copy of the survey per open records

BikerGrandma 11 years, 3 months ago

How about spreading the wealth? Poor Douglas County commissioners - try making it on a school district salary - especially when you have to go miles out of your way for 5 months due to a bridge closing! Seems to me that some of that increase could have went for the bridge or at least a reimbursement to the school district for adding costs that will be incurred due to your brilliant decision to close the bridge completely.

Bud Stagg 11 years, 3 months ago

You are right Quig it is over 50%, I couldn't see the numbers that well, I was seeing red.

riverrat2 11 years, 3 months ago

That's just salary. What are the other perks? BC/BS health plan? KPERS? Gotta keep up with the big dogs!!

wysiwyg69 11 years, 3 months ago

If you voted the last time there was an election, you are probably one of the votes that gave a commissioner the seat. get a clue and vote them out next time. And if you think that is the only thing they got as an increase you are lost anyway

conservative 11 years, 3 months ago

Biker, go to the Jefferson county commission if you want money for the bridge closing. They aren't contributing a dime, and their county is most definitely benefitting.

Can't really comment on the salary issue. I don't know what the going rate is for county commissioners and am not really sure what the workload looks like.

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 3 months ago

Girly wrote:

"Seems like the people should vote on whether or not their elected officals should have a pay raise."

I agree! Something doesn't seem right about a public servant voting for a raise for themselves. Congress does this as well and it makes no sense. Why is there even a vote? Who on the commission is going to vote against that?

mechman 11 years, 3 months ago

anyone starting a recall petition???????? i WANT TO SIGN IT!!!!!!!!!

drake 11 years, 3 months ago

What was the vote? Ol' Bob looks like he just won the lottery in his picture.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

The reason usually given for such a large pay increase is that they need it in order to attract better candidates.

I hope it works.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

Politica.y speaking, would people even listen to me if I said we are going to vote on my pay raise????

Would I even have a say in how much it is?????

Politicaly speaking, no, Im just an ordinary person who happens to pay taxes.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

I vote to vote on votes that pertain to voting on pay raise votes, This is as far as I got when trying to understand how we would vote on pay raises

Baille 11 years, 3 months ago

I think the fence-building business must have slowed down this year.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 3 months ago

Funny how ole jer gets all the fence contracts form the city and county.

Jay_lo 11 years, 3 months ago

The problem is the survey. Nobody wants to be in the bottom 50% or "below average". But if everyone in the bottom 50% thinks they need to be in the top 10 to 15% and adjust their wages accordingly, then the average goes way up and suddenly someone who was happy with their pay is now "below average".

It's a vicious circle except for the ones who know how to play the survey game. They come out smelling like a rose because no one in the top 10% is going to consider themselves overpaid and take a cut, if that's what the survey results showed.

Besides, I'll bet everyone that ran found out what the pay was before running, and I'll bet there wasn't a single one who asked how it compared to neighboring counties.

When you have trouble getting persons to run, then you might need to look at whether there is adequate compensation. What they make in other counties should have no effect what-so-ever.

towne27 11 years, 3 months ago

Good point riverat.....these politicians live in luxury. They take a raise whenever they want.....who cares, it's only taxpayer money. Do any of you reading this blog have the luxury of a 50,000 + salary, medical benefits, probably a tax payer funded car, kapers, paid vactaion, comp time, etc, etc, etc.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

I definitely want some justification from the commissioners as to why they did this.

Step up, ye elected officials, and explain this action.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 3 months ago

From the righteous indignation apparent on this board, I anticipate there will be a number of us signing up to run for the next County Commission election. And nearly--if not exactly--all of us will be promising to slash the Commissioner's salaries.

Forget the percentages--we're really talking about a little more than $33,000 here. When dealing with that low an actual number, a phase-in doesn't make sense and there are certainly bigger fish to fry, aren't there? We can cry that "it's the principle of the thing," but at the end of the day how much is the job of County Commissioner worth? Keeping in mind that any decision these three make will necessarily be decried as wrong and short-sighted.

Come on, all you Populists. If this is really such a disgrace, let's see a repeat of 1890. Put in your representatives and make some real changes.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

Well politicaly, I see that all that was done was they gave out an annual raise?? am I wrong about how I am reading this

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey Wilbur - we're really talking about is a little more than $33,000 here? Would you like to know how may people in this town live on much less than that? And you call that a low number? I'm sorry, but that just stinks that you say that.

I think it's pretty good pay for a second job for them, but think of the hundreds of families here that live on half that and you come in with your "little number" rhetoric. Wow. Merry Christmas to you when you probably get to vacation in Mexico and we save to go to Taco Bell.


Mike Blur 11 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if that will be the case, Wilbur.

Let us not forget - Democrat Charles Jones ran UNOPPOSED, yep, UNOPPOSED, in the last election.

It's very easy for people to get upset over all this, but at the end of the day, when it's time for people to step up and effect REAL change, very few, if any, people could be found.

One would think someone with a pulse that declared themselves Republican would have picked up a couple thousand in the last election! Jones won the commish seat 5,637 to 201.

Oh, I know, it's approximately 40 times easier to sit at a keyboard and whine about it than it is to get off your butt and get out there and make a difference.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 3 months ago

No, Gootsie, it doesn't stink that I say $33K is a low number. What stinks is that people have to live on less than that. That would be one of the bigger fish to be fried, by the way.

Incidentally, I thought the ad hominem response based on your supposition of my socio-economic status and reduction of my point to "rhetoric" was hardly clever, and certainly beneath you. I've read many of your other posts, and you're certainly capable of much deeper thought.

Stephen Prue 11 years, 3 months ago

Smells, well bad! But maybe I'm wrong, my 1.7% raise is pretty good too, right?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 3 months ago

Stick a fork in all of them, they're done. That's if public apathy isn't still running rampant. Thank You, Lynn

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 3 months ago

You can be certain I won't forget, and I always vote. I hope the rest of the citizens find their gonads and do so as well. Thank you, Lynn

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for the compliments on my posts. I seldom lose my cool, but your post sounds snooty to me and I don't care for snooty. Anyone who says $33K is a small number hasn't very often had to live paycheck to hunger to paycheck now, have they?

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

And the Douglas County Commissioners sid, "Let them et cake."

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

It would have been so much better if I had typed, "Let them eat cake."

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

Were McGovern, Gilchrest, Shew and Pesnell threatening to quit unless they got a huge raises?

This action is dumbfounding.

riverrat2 11 years, 3 months ago

The survey was conducted by Assistant County Administrator Pam Madl.

Fess up Pam, you juggled the books.

What did your pay go from/to?

"You have the right to remain silent..............

trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

i dunno godot, i kind of liked the "et" cake; much more homey&sweet home alabama flavored that way! :)

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow! You'd think they were in Congress, wouldn't you?

Members of Congress do this all the time. And even the ones who were against the last pay raise that Congress gave themselves apparently didn't refuse the money.

Where were all of you at election time when voting for members of Congress? Where was the outrage then?

I think the laws need to be changed so that members of Congress, or any other governing body, cannot receive a pay raise unless it's put to the vote of the people, and approved by them first.

Isn't this the way it works for the peons? Isn't it Congress, and other governing bodies, that have time after time voted down pay raises (i.e., minimum wage) for the common people?

And what were their reasons for doing that? It would be bad for the economy? Like raising the pay for people, people who are paid by YOUR TAXES, isn't bad for the economy? Where does the money for pay raises for government officials come from? Err...TAXES, maybe, which will probably now go up even more?

I for one have never understood why people in Congress think they need to make more than $100K a year. All of that money is free to them. All their job related expenses are paid by...OUR TAXES.

I get so sick of the higher ups telling us they need more money, while at the same time telling us that we can damn well make do with what we've got.

What's fair about that?

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

How many hours per month does the county commissioners work on county business?

conservative 11 years, 3 months ago

According to the other article 20 hours a week minimum and many are 40+

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

I like how everyone comments on other posts but ignores the fact that I understand this is politics, I know no one listens to me but politicaly speaking, this is how politics works, right??

I wonder if anyone has ever broken down this kind of pay to see what the hourly rate is for working a min. of 20 hours a week. I have to show up 40 hrs a week to my job or I dont get paid for the time I am not there.

prairiepollyana 11 years, 3 months ago

What I am wondering is how they could have budgeted that much over what they needed for personal services? Did the mil levy increase or was it just not adjusted down? Questions people!!!

I think the way the law works is that if the commission does something to affect the citizens they have 30 days to file a protest to the commission and then the commission has to revist the issue...not that they would change their mind...but might be worth a try...

Bud Stagg 11 years, 3 months ago

So we compared our county pay to other county pay? What if they are overpaying? What if they are a bunch of crooks? We have to be more crooked than they are?

Again, where was the discussion? where was the public input? Where is this in the budget???

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

We should see a comparison of the entire payroll for Douglas County vs the payroll for Saline or Shawnee or Riley.

My guess is it will show that the Douglas County payroll is much larger, in part because there are more paid administrators to do the work that the county commissioners do in the other counties.

The commissioners should delay this pay raise until the new, improved candidates that this higer pay will attract have presented themselves to the voters, and the voters have decided who is worth the new compensation package. This goes for all the elected officials that have received this pay increase.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Well, gee, my pay is probably not as high as others in my profession may be getting elsewhere, in this state or others. Somehow, I don't think that will sway my employer to raise my pay to match theirs.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

I dont know if anyone gets the real picture here, the commision just got a raise and they voted on it.

Politicaly speaking this means that they will get paid more money this year. And next year they will vote again to get another pay raise.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 3 months ago

budwhysir wrote "this means that they will get paid more money this year." Which is kind of the definition of a raise.

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