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Knox County Board Tables Elected Official Pay Increase

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 271

Knox County SealPlans to increase the salaries of several Knox County officials will have to wait until next week.

A proposal to bump the salaries of the Knox County Clerk, Treasurer, and Sheriff and the 9th Judicial Circuit Clerk by $10,000 attracted the attention of AFSCME representatives.

Union representatives argued that because they made concessions during this year’s budget talks, elected officials should not be exempt from the example. AFSCME Staff Representative Randy Lynch says if the board is serious, they’ll keep their concessions in mind when they vote on the matter.

“If you do do it, I’ll be the first to tell you as an AFSCME representative if you give anybody in this county more than what we got, do not come to me to ask for concessions when things go bad because we’re not going to be at the table to talk about it,” says Lynch.

While the salary increases call for a 1.5-percent annual increase, the initial salary adjustment created problems for the board.

County Board Chair Greg Bacon tells WGIL says he feels the elected officials deserve the increase.

“The union has done very well over the last 15 years compared to our elected officials,” says Bacon. “Some union employees have gotten 85-percent wage increases of 15 years where our elected officials, their raises amount to about 33-percent over 15 years.”

After proposing an amendment to the initial resolution to forgo the salary bump, the board said additional time was needed for consideration. Board member Paul Stewart says he was troubled when he learned of the requests.

“We sat here I don’t know how many times and said that we had to hold the line to a one-and-a-half percent raise for all the other employees and, you know, they sacrificed for that and I just don’t think this kind of raise is justified,” says Stewart.

Among the problems board members expressed was that the item was not approved through committee.

To address the concerns, a Finance Committee meeting will be held on Monday followed by another County Board meeting on Tuesday.

The County is on a deadline to adjust the salaries, if they so choose, 180 days prior to the next election in November.