Seeing how Page County’s new surveyor is paid more than the person replaced after a lengthy career drove a discussion on how employee pay rates are determined.
During the Dec. 3 Page County Board of Supervisors meeting, Auditor Melissa Wellhausen informed the board how the new surveyor, hired by County Engineer J.D. King, has a starting pay of $65,000 a year. The person he replaced had the position for decades and finished at $56,000.
“How can we pay more than the person who left with years of experience,” she said.
Supervisor Chuck Morris said it may show a drastic shift in the economy and labor pool compared to 10, 15 and 20 years ago.
“We can’t hire at that rate,” he said about continuing the prior surveyor’s pay.
Morris said a person with additional skill sets should be compensated fairly.
It’s not the first time a Page County position has been treated this way. Earlier this year, the Page County Conference board, which includes the supervisors, approved a new assessor to replace the retired Peggy Smith. Jason Renander, who did not have any assessor experience, received the same pay as if Smith would have still had the position.
Wellhausen and Sheriff Lyle Palmer, who also was in attendance, explained how they follow a guideline for their office staff pay based on their pay.
“Having 17 people go 17 ways is not effective,” Wellhausen said about minimal guidance with staff pay.
Morris agreed saying there has been some dysfunction with pay among the assessor, elected officials and others and some structure is needed.
“We will never make everyone happy,” he said.
Morris suggested to further research the issue with the other supervisors. Supervisors will review formulas for how department staff members are paid.