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Updated: Salaries for county leaders weighed

This updated story now includes the salary request from sheriff Troy Wolbersen.

0 Talk about it

Douglas County Commissioners will soon have a decision to make about the salaries of four elected officials in 2014.

Three of those four elected officials stated their case on what they believe they should be paid during Tuesday’s county board meeting.

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen was not present at the meeting, and Friday he submitted a request asking to receive the same pay increase that other department heads will have in 2014. The final decision for these elected officials’ salaries will be made at the December 17 board meeting.

In his statement, Wolbersen mentioned that 2014 will be his eighth year as the Douglas County sheriff and his 27th as an employee in the office.

“I believe that I have performed well as sheriff and have earned a raise for 2014,” Wolbersen said. “I am asking that the board treat me the same as other department heads by giving me the same increase that other department heads will be receiving.”

In 2013, Wolbersen’s salary was $90,950.

Two of the officials – County Attorney Chad Larson and County Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow – did not ask for a specific increase, but instead gave examples of why they deserve a raise.

Although Larson mentioned this is his 14th year as a county attorney (two in Douglas County, 12 in Pope County), he said Minnesota law states that a county attorney’s salary should be based on responsibilities instead of experience. County attorney responsibilities can be determined by looking at population numbers and the jobs a county attorney undertakes.

Larson said his salary of $93,000 is less than what county attorneys make in the next 10 Minnesota counties smaller than Douglas. He used Cass County as an example, where the population is around 28,000 people, the office is smaller, there is no county hospital and the county attorney makes $99,366.

“With that said, I don’t want to have my salary fall too far behind,” Larson said. “But I leave that in your hands and your discretion as to what to do with my salary, and trust that you’ll make a wise decision.”

Rosenow also did not ask for a specific increase, just asking the commissioners “to be fair.” She used her longevity with the county as a reason why she deserved consideration for a pay adjustment.

“My take on it is that I’ve been in the office almost 29-and-a-half years, every day I come in and try to do the best job I can,” Rosenow said. “I still come in early if I can make it in early and work late.”

The 2013 salary for Rosenow is $84,500.

As the final official to present her case to the board on Tuesday, County Recorder Dawn Crouse requested a 4 percent increase to her 2013 salary of $63,960. Reasons given for the request were to get her salary closer to the compensation of other department heads in the county for her additional duties in the recorder’s office.

“I’m going to ask for a 4 percent, just because I thought maybe I could get a little closer to some of the other department head’s salaries, for one, and I’m getting a few more duties,” she said.