MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday further discussed the annual salaries of the county’s elected officials. This item was not up for a vote, and two proposals have been moved forward for potential vote at the next meeting. 

County Administrator Jason Carviou presented the board two potential options, having taken into account some of the discussion at the previous county board meeting which occurred Dec. 26, 2018. 

“I took the amount of a 2 percent increase across all four elected officials (Menominee County’s clerk, treasurer, sheriff, prosecuting attorney) and divided by four and made that into a flat-rate increase which comes to $1,427 per elected official,” he said. He said the drain commissioner was kept at a 2 percent rate. 

Carviou also proposed giving each of the four elected officials a 2 percent increase, based on their current salary. This was the original proposal, which failed with a 4-5 vote at the previous meeting. 

Carviou said regardless what the county board chooses to do, both options would have the same effect on the county budget, it would just be divided differently.

Commissioner Steven Gromala said he felt it would be more fair to offer the 2 percent raises. “I can appreciate the feelings of some of the elected officials are not performing the duties of their offices and therefore should not be awarded; but at the same time, I would like to remind everyone that each of us are also elected officials and I’m sure some feel we are not performing our duties, too.” He said that if there is issues with an elected official not adequately performing their duties, then “recall is the answer,” but “the salary of these elected officials should be based on the position, not the individuals.” 

Commissioner Bernie Lang said he agreed with Gromala. “It’s the county’s responsibility to evaluate the position, not the person.” He said that the county employees have received a 2 percent raise, and the raise should be extended to elected officials as well. “By not doing so we’re setting up a situation that deputies in the sheriff department make more than the sheriff.” 

Carviou elaborated Lang’s comment at the request of the other commissioners. He said if the Menominee County Sheriff is making less than the undersheriff and if a 2 percent raise goes through, the sheriff would only be making about $100 more than the undersheriff is currently making. “Even with the 2 percent raise there will be a discrepancy between the top elected official and the undersheriff,” Carviou explained.

However, Carviou also advised the board to address this issue separately. “This is something that will probably need a longer-term plan to fix.” He said that Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks is working on getting more information to the board at a later date to address this issue.

Commissioner Larry Phelps said he would like to also see an increase in the county commissioner rate.

Commissioner Larry Schei agreed with Phelps but said he did not believe it was possible at present. Carviou confirmed this, stating that any salary changes for the county commissioners needed to be decided at the Dec. 26 meeting. The decisions would have needed to be made before the new board began its term.

The board chose to include both proposals on the agenda for the next meeting for a vote.