BLOOMINGTON — A package of salary cuts for McLean County elected officials advanced Tuesday despite opposition from some County Board members.
A $25,000 cut for the auditor and smaller changes equivalent to the loss of a year's raise for the circuit clerk and coroner, all starting in 2021, are headed to the full board June 19 after a 6-3 executive committee vote. Those positions are held by Michelle Anderson, Don Everhart and Kathy Davis, respectively.
Some County Board members recommended the changes after three of the auditor's four supervised employees were moved to the treasurer's office Jan. 1 and rank-and-file county employees lost their raises in 2017 due to budget issues. Elected official salaries can only be changed at least six months before a new term begins under state law.
"I'm in favor of giving this board and this staff maximum financial flexibility," said board member Erik Rankin of why he voted "no" on the changes, which can be delayed for almost two years. "Once we set something, it becomes more difficult to change. ... This feels like a commitment."
Bill Caisley agreed before he voted "no."
"If I could see that far into the future, I'd be a much wealthier man," he said.
Rankin also questioned the auditor's change, which would reduce the salary to about $75,000. He said a $25,000 cut won't make the difference between a good county budget and a bad one.
"I just don't think a $25,000 pay cut was warranted by what the position actually brings," said Chuck Erickson, who also voted "no" during the June 6 finance committee meeting.
Scott Murphy said he prefers to make the changes well in advance so candidates know what they're getting into.
"In two years we can always revisit this issue," said Susan Schafer before she voted "yes."
Rankin also asked about the possibility of eliminating the auditor position, which he said creates unnecessary bureaucracy. Eliminating the office would require a ballot referendum.
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