The Greed Factor -
The 10 Percent pay raise, which adds up to a whole lot more
No sympathy for Taxpayers!
By Pat Hunter
Merriam - Webster's definition of "Greed" is defined as "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed." A ten percent annual pay raise for Loudon County Commissioners seems a wee bit excessive. What's that called Highway Robbery or just plain old GREED?
Just last year, commissioners voted to hike their own pay. The proposed increase was not a modest increase but a greedy increase in my humble opinion. The Budget Committee thought that a good way to calculate a commissioner's pay was to tie their pay hike to the Mayor's salary, automatically and yearly, sort of like our federal government. A county commissioner's salary is calculated at ten percent (10%) of the County Mayor's salary. Last year, commissioner's pay hike was about a twenty-six (26%) percent increase over the previous year.
Loudon County commissioners also receive more pay than other commissioners in surrounding counties or counties of similar or larger size. See Chart below for a comparison.
The Budget Committee recommended paying the Mayor a salary of $84,368 (est.) for the upcoming period starting July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. That means that commissioners would receive an annual salary of $8,437 for a part-time job. Last year's commissioner's salary was about $7559 est. so the increase over last year would be a little over eleven percent (11%), from last to next. Not to bad considering most but not all commissioners attend about two or three meetings per month.
The County Mayor is the one of the highest paid county officials and the Mayor's pay is calculated on state law and formula, which almost guarantees a yearly raise.
This year, the Budget Committee approved the Road Superintendent's salary and rubber stamped a $10,000 pay supplement. The Budget Committee openly complained about the Highway Department because the proposed Superintendent's budget was presented with a deficit and more revenue would be needed to balance the road department's budget.
It appears that the Mayor's Salary was erroneously calculated by using the salary of the Road Superintendent's salary. The Sheriff is a Constitutional Office Holder and the Road Superintendent is not. Therefore, the Mayor's salary was supposed to be calculated on the Sheriff's salary.
According to the County Technical Assistance Services (CTAS), which prepares the annual pay raises for county officials, the County Mayor or County Executive Compensation is supposed to be calculated as follows. "The salary of the county mayor is set by the county legislative body, but must be at least equal to the minimum salary established by the General Assembly in Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 8-24- 102. The county mayor’s minimum salary is 5 percent greater than the salary of the sheriff. The minimum salary applies only to a county mayor who devotes full time to the county mayor’s office; the salary of a county mayor who devotes less than full time to the office must be determined by resolution of the county legislative body prior to the election..." SOURCE: CTAS
It appears, that Commission's generous pay hike was also calculated incorrectly and the Budget Committee approved it as such for Commissioners approval. The Budget Committee didn't seem to catch the error but when it was brought to their attention at the June 2nd meeting, commissioners just sat there with a bored look on their face!
State government employees and the private sector face layoffs and cuts and people everywhere face higher prices at the fuel pump while food prices continue to soar. It seems that our local county officials are fairing much better than most as they feed off the gravy train while the poor taxpayers foot the bill for more spending with higher property taxes and a proposed wheel tax!
|County Commissioner Salary Comparison|
|By: Pat Hunter|
|County Name||FY 2006-2007||FY 06-07||FY 06-07||FY 2007-2008||FY 07-08||FY 07-08||FY 2008-2009||FY08-09||FY 08-09|
|Population - pop.||Ending 06- 30-06||per||or Estimated||per||or Estimated||per|
|Loudon - 10||$ 60,000||$ 6,000||$ 500||$ 75,585||$ 7,559||$ 630||$ 84,368||$ 8,437||$704|
|Roane - 15||$ 29,639||$ 2,117||$ 176||$ 32,875||$ 2,192||$ 183|
|pop. 51,910||No benefits||AA|
|Jefferson- 22||$ 85,750||$ 3,898||$ 325||$ 86,675||$ 3,940||$ 328|
|pop. 44,294||No benefits||AA|
|Lawrence- 18||$ 43,461||$ 2,415||$ 134||$ 43,719||$ 2,429||$ 135|
|pop. 39,926||No benefits||AA|
|Franklin - 16||$ 67,626||$ 3,978||$ 249||$ 68,170||$ 4,261||$ 355|
|Monroe - 9||$ 47,699||$ 5,300||$ 442||$ 47,478||$ 5,275||$ 440|
|pop. 38,961||No benefits||AA|
|Blount - 21||$ 113,155||$ 5,388||$ 449||$ 112,776||$ 5,370||$ 448||$ 113,400||$ 5,400||$ 450|
|Sevier - 24||$ 114,820||$ 4,784||$ 399||$ 123,608||$ 5,150||$ 429|
|pop. 71,170||No benefits||AA|
|Anderson - 16||$ 101,043||$ 6,316||$ 526||$ 101,089||$ 6,368||$ 531|
Commissioners – Benefits or no Benefits
Benefits – insurance, retirement.
SOURCE: Loudon County Finance Budget Spreadsheets: Actual Audit AA
Tennessee Comptroller County AuditsUS 2000 Census