Douglas County Commission to consider adopting pay ranges for some elected officials, effectively lowering starting pay in the future

Douglas County leaders will soon consider adopting pay ranges for countywide elected officials, which would effectively reduce starting salaries for several positions by ending the current practice of newly elected officials assuming the salaries of their predecessors.

As part of its meeting Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission will consider adopting pay ranges and a pay policy for countywide elected officials. Currently, the county personnel policy and pay plan do not address salaries for incoming, newly elected officials or members of the County Commission, according to a memo to the commission, but the county has followed certain practices.

County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said that the current practice is that when new countywide elected officials, such as the register of deeds, treasurer, or district attorney, are sworn in, their salary is set at whatever their predecessor made. If the changes are approved, Plinsky said that after the next election, any new officials would begin at the minimum of the newly set pay ranges. The changes would not affect officials who are currently in office.

In all five of the countywide elected offices, the proposed minimum of the pay range is lower than the current salary. Specifically, the proposed pay range for the register of deeds, treasurer, and county clerk is a minimum annual salary of $91,187 and a maximum of $134,514, according to the memo. The current salary of the register of deeds is $108,035, and the treasurer and the clerk each make $102,835.

The proposed pay range for the sheriff is a minimum annual salary of $125,000 and a maximum of $187,500, as compared to the current salary of $154,024, according to the memo. For the district attorney, the proposed pay range is a minimum annual salary of $150,000 and a maximum of $210,000. Plinsky said that recently elected District Attorney Suzanne Valdez was sworn in with her predecessor’s salary of $170,622, but that Valdez later voluntarily elected to lower her salary to $164,008.

Plinsky said the policy would work differently for county commissioners, since they all make the same salary regardless of how long they have served on the board and will continue not to have a pay range for their position. Currently, Plinsky said county commissioners make about $38,300 annually.

The current process for raises for countywide positions would not change. Merit raises for individual positions and market raises for job types would continue to be awarded as warranted and as the budget allows.

The County Commission will convene at 5:30 p.m. for its regular business meeting. The meeting will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 953 4503 5464.


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