All 3 county commissioners to donate 10 percent of pay |

All 3 county commissioners to donate 10 percent of pay

Brandon Gee

By the numbers

Salaries of Routt County

elected officials

Surveyor $3,300

Coroner $33,100

Commissioners (3) $58,500

Clerk and recorder $58,500

Assessor $58,500

Treasurer $71,000

Sheriff $76,000

Source: Routt County 2009

Adopted Budget

All three Routt County commissioners voluntarily are participating in the 10 percent countywide pay cuts they unanimously adopted April 1.

Elected officials were not affected by the resolution adopting the pay cut because their salaries are set by the state Legislature and cannot be changed during their term in office. At their discretion, however, elected officials may donate a portion of their salaries back to the county. Or, to take advantage of tax deductions, elected officials can donate a portion of their salaries to community service agencies funded by the county. The county then will reduce its 2009 contribution to agencies by the same amount.

Routt County Personnel Director Chris Hensen said four elected officials have donated money directly back to the county or to a county-funded charity. They are Commissioners Diane Mitsch Bush, Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak, and Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon.

“As far as the other elected officials, they may have made a contribution, but maybe they didn’t let accounting know yet,” Hensen said.

The 10 percent cut is expected to save more than $1 million this year as the county works to address a $4.9 million deficit in its budget.

“It wasn’t so much a situation of if I was going to do it, but how the hell it was going to work,” Monger said. “What’s fair for (other county employees) is fair for me, too. I’m trying to do my part just like everybody else is trying to do their part, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Mitsch Bush agreed.

“For me, I made a decision to cut the employees’ pay by 10 percent,” she said. “Since I made that decision, it just seemed natural to me that my pay be cut by 10 percent. I didn’t even really think about it.”

Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said she also will be contributing 10 percent of her salary but still is in the process of gathering information and evaluating her options. Coroner Rob Ryg said he did not wish to discuss the situation.

“It’s kind of a personal thing. I don’t want to say what I’m doing,” Ryg said. “It’s not anybody’s business. : It’s a private thing, and we’re going to keep it that way.”

Sheriff Gary Wall also said he will handle his salary privately.

“The last thing I’m going to do is give 10 percent of my salary to the county commissioners to do what they want to,” said Wall, who opposed the across-the-board pay cuts and has challenged the commissioners’ authority to impose pay cuts on the departments of elected officials. “I don’t like that 10 percent cut. I don’t think it was fair. I don’t think it was right. The last card has not been played on that.”

Wall said he does and will continue to donate a portion of his salary to charitable organizations, but he would not say whether he will increase his giving by an amount equal to 10 percent of his salary. He also said he will not report his contributions to the county.

“I’m not going to report to them anything about what I’m doing,” Wall said. “I’m not going to get involved with those games. : I will continue to donate a sizable amount of my salary to charity and benefits. : Exact percentages – I’m not going to get into that.”

Assessor Mike Kerrigan previously said he would not voluntarily participate in the pay cut.

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