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County makes changes to pay plan

Fri, Dec 1st, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The County Board of Commissioners decided to make changes in the employee pay plan for 2007 at their November 28 meeting. Robert Bjorklund of Bjorklund Compensation Consulting presented the results of his market study for Fillmore County to the board back in August. A similar study had been completed six years earlier. Salaries were then set at 95% of the average in the area at the time. Chairman Duane Bakke noted that the majority of employee salaries are still on target. Nurses are one notable exception due to the competition to attract and retain nurses provided by Mayo Clinic.

The changes in the plan are recommended to allow the county to "recruit and retain" employees explained County Coordinator Karen Brown. The board set the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) at 3% for the coming year. The revised pay plan for 2007 which will cost approximately 3% to implement was approved. Commissioner Marc Prestby voted against. Most of the market adjustments recommended by Bjorklund were approved with Marc Prestby voting against.

Resolution to Increase Library Support

Ann Hutton of Southeast Libraries Cooperating encouraged commissioners to pass a resolution expressing support for legislative action to increase funding from the state of Minnesota for regional library systems. She said that the state has not increased the support level for twelve years. The resolution states that funding for regional libraries has increasingly been provided by local property tax dollars. Hutton insisted that with inflation the failure of the state to raise the funding amounts to a 30 to 40% loss in buying power. The Minnesota Library Association is requesting an increase of 5 million for the entire state. The state now provides 8.6 million. SELCO gets around $900,000 of that for the southeast region. The resolution was approved.


Newly elected department heads made their requests and arguments for where their salary may be set. Commissioners can set salaries for new department heads at 15% less than the current salary for that position. Experience and knowledge brought to the job is a factor. After salaries are set, there is a short period for appeal. The auditor/treasurer elect, Shirl Boelter requested $60,000. The least the commissioners could offer Boelter would be $53,975. Sheriff Daryl Jensen requested just under a 3% increase from the current salary of $68,000. He suggested that he felt it appropriate since he was recently newly appointed and now newly elected. The county recorder elect, David Kiehne, requested $53,000. The 2006 salary was set at $50,000. Commissioners could set the salary for the newly elected recorder as low as $42,500. Bakke noted that the 15% reduction from the current salary is a minimum and generally just a starting point. Salaries will be discussed at the next meeting on December 12.

Driveway Access

Mike Frauenkron, Zoning, explained the request for an access permit from Jerry and Jodi Bergey. Both Zoning Administrator, Norman Craig, and Highway Engineer, John Grindeland, recommend that the permit be approved. The Bergey's have built a new confinement building, but the current access is about 1,000 feet from the new building. The access would be to CR #10, section 18, in Amherst Township.

Commissioner Randy Dahl asked about the ordinance and the limit to two access driveways. The Bergey's already have several accesses. The ordinance limits a landowner to no more than two access driveways to a lot of 40 acres. Also, no landowner is allowed to have more than one access in each quarter mile for a field. Accesses that preexisted the date of the enactment of the ordinance are allowed.

Commissioner Stafford Hansen argued that to him this is a "no-brainer". We should make it easier for the farmer who has a lot of investment and who is a property tax payer. Bakke said that we are just trying to go by the rules that are in place. He stressed that we have to comply with our own ordinances or we shouldn't have them at all. Dahl stated that the Planning Commission is looking at the driveway issue. Prestby agreed that the rules in effect have to be followed. By consensus the board agreed not to act until they can check and see if the permit would comply with the current ordinances. Bakke added that they need to find out how Norman Craig is interpreting the ordinance.

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