Raises for county elected officials approved; Commissioners salaries to remain almost unchanged

(Lander, Wyo.) – As the result of several split votes by the Fremont County Commission, all of the county’s elected officials will see increases in salaries over the next four years by varying degrees. By state statute, elected official salaries must be set four years at a time.

The votes came after an hour’s worth of discussion today and some previous discussion in recent weeks.

The seat of the Fremont County Coroner will see the largest increase, primarily in an effort to get the salary closer to other elected officials. In 2015, the coroner’s salary will raise from $63,945 to $70,000. Most other elected officials this year are at or above $75,000. Every year after, through 2018, the coroner’s salary will increase $1,500. Current Coroner Ed McAuslan will not be a recipient of this increase as he is not seeking re-election.

The coroner’s salary increase was proposed by Commissioner Stephanie Kessler and passed 3-1. Commission Chairman Doug Thompson was the lone no vote, saying he thought the first year’s increase was too big of a jump.

Commissioner Keja Whiteman was not in attendance but advised the commission ahead of the votes that she was in favor of no more than a 5 percent increase over the four years. She said she preferred no raises at all.

All other elected officials, not including the commissioners or the coroner, will receive a $1,500 raise each year for the next four years. This was approved 3-1, with Commissioner Travis Becker being the lone no vote. Becker had preferred a plan that raised salaries a total of $5,000 over four years, but his motion received no second.

In 2014, the Assessor, Clerk, Clerk of District Court, Sheriff and Treasurer’s salaries were all set at $75,000. The Fremont County Attorney’s salary is $85,327.

The commissioners approved leaving their salaries essentially the same over the next four years. A slight increase of $237 in 2015 was approved to move the salary to an even number of $34,000 from the current $33,763. The commissioners’ salaries will remain at $34,000 through 2018. This was approved 3-1, with Thompson being the lone no vote. He said the commissioners do more than $34,000 worth of work.

Employee salary increases have not yet been approved. But will be discussed further in the coming weeks. Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese said if all budgets were approved as submitted so far, the commission would have about $1.5 million to use for any salary adjustments.

Freese noted that since 2005 a study of employee salaries show that wages have increased an average of 42 percent, compared to an average of 35 percent for the elected officials.