MARINETTE —  The salaries for the Marinette County elected offices of county clerk, register of deeds and treasurer will increase about 13 percent from 2021-2024 if the County Board of Supervisors follows the advice of its Administrative Committee.

The committee voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend a salary schedule proposed by supervisor Rick Polzin for those three elected offices, that will be on the ballot in the November election, that would increase the pay of each position 6 percent to $66,700 in 2021 and about 2.39 percent in each of the following 3 years to $68,372 in 2022, $70,044 in 2023 and $71,715 in 2024.

Approval of that salary schedule followed rejection by the committee by a 3-3 deadlock of a proposal by supervisor Mark Anderson, county board chairperson, that would have also resulted in about 13 percent increase for four years to $71,715 for each position, but that would begin by increasing the salary of all three positions by about $7,000 to $70,309 in 2021 with just a 2 percent raise to follow in 2023. 

Both proposals amended the original salary schedule proposed by Administrator John Lefebvre that called for the salary of the three positions to be $65,200 in 2021, a 4.8 percent increase from the previous year, and $66,500 in 2022, $67,800 in 2023, and $69,100 in 2024.

The debate over what the salary schedule should be began with discussion about the amendment to Lefebvre’s plan that was proposed by Anderson that would have provided the large increase in the first year and only one other raise in the next three years. 

Anderson said he believed the three elected positions should be treated the same as other county employees, whose pay scales are determined by the Carlson-Dettmann wage study.

“My thoughts are we should be treating these positions the same as everyone else employed by Marinette County and use the same comparables (other counties),” Anderson said. “If we are not going to use the same comparables, then we should be changing the comparables in the Carlson-Dettmann plan to match the comparables we have been presented. I would not recommend that though.”

“I agree with Mark,” said supervisor Don Pazynski. “I think it’s kind of unfair (to treat them differently than the other county workers). We’ve got to be fair with them to catch them up. I’m not afraid of a 13-percent increase.”

Pazynski seconded Anderson’s motion for approval of his amendment. Also voting “yes” for it was Supervisor Tricia Grebin.

“We’ve got competent people in these positions, these people have proven themselves,” Pazynski said. “I seconded Mark’s proposal and I stand with it. I think it’s fair and these people deserve it.”

Lefebvre explained the Carlson-Dettmann salary plan was based on comparisons with counties and municipalities that Marinette County could be competing against to obtain workers.

“When it comes to elected officials, you have to understand that we’re not competing against other counties,” he explained. “You have to be a resident of Marinette County to get one of those positions.”

He said it’s difficult to classify elected officials in the Carlson-Dettmann pay study because there’s no requirement of education and experience for them as other county jobs have.

“I’m not opposed to whatever salary schedule this group comes up with,” Lefebvre said. “What Mark has proposed and what I brought up originally are very close (after four years). 

“I strongly suggest and recommend that we look at spreading out that increase (proposed by Anderson for the first year). If you spread them out over the entire four years that would be my preference.”

He stressed that the county  doesn’t offer any type of bonus to people who perform well in the elected positions saying “we don’t pay for people, we pay for positions.”

“I take a little issue with you John when you say that you pay for the position,” Pazynski said. “These are people and we are paying people. We’ve got to acknowledge their loyalty and their contributions over the years.”

“These positions are elected positions,” said Polzin. “We’ve been very lucky that we have fairly stable employees.

“But to say that we’re competing for those employees, the competition is at the ballot box. It isn’t anything the county is involved in. It is the choice of the people on who they want to put into the positions. I could support John’s position of phasing in (a pay increase) over four years.”

“Treat people fairly,” said Anderson, who voted “yes” to Polzin’s plan to phase in the raise. After the amendment by Polzin was OK’d, the amended resolution also was unanimously approved.

“Just because they are residents of Marinette County and running for these positions doesn’t mean that we should treat them any different,” Anderson said. “I believe this proposal (by Polzin) treats people the same and fairly. I value these people.”