Calling it the most divisive vote they've ever taken, Hall County board members approve pay raises for elected leaders, including themselves.
Supervisors are getting another thousand dollars a year, each of the next four years. But it's how that compares to other office holders that's creating controversy.
"I'm sick to my stomach, I really am," Scott Arnold said after the meeting.
His pay is going up, but Arnold says he can't accept the money, because he thinks other elected leaders deserve it more.
"Saved the county about $19,000 but it gave supervisors a $31,000 increase," he said.
Because of its size, Hall County stands alone in Nebraska. But even compared against smaller counties, the pay doesn't hold up.
Arnold said, "We don't pay enough to motivate people to run for office."
After more than a dozen proposals and hours of contentious debate at three separate meetings, the board approved raises on a split decision.
Board Chair Pam Lancaster said, "I think if anything that Hall County has done and strives to do is operate in the public light."
What Pam Lancaster sees as the process working, is the "worst vote ever" in Arnold's words. He's specifically upset with pay for two key positions.
He said, "From original motion drastically cut the sheriff and county surveyor, our roads superintendent."
But Lancaster responded, "I don't understand that statement at all."
She points out all office holders will see raises, maybe not as much as some wanted, but still higher.
"Looking at the numbers, we increased the amount above base to 115 percent," she said.
Arnold says he couldn't support board members giving themselves one penny more.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with the money," he said, saying he didn't feel right getting a raise.
In the end, the base pay for offices like clerk and treasurer goes up from $57,000 to $64,000, and two percent raises in the third and four year.
Pay is set four years at a time, so those running for office know what the salary will be.
|Position||2014 Salary||2015 Base||Difference||2015 Salary||2016||2017||2018|
|Clerk of District Court||54,587.28||64,000||9,412||59,293||64,000||65,280||66,585|
|Register of Deeds||54,587.28||(office being eliminated)|