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County Board Finance Committee Pares Down Proposed Raises

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 426

6-2-14 KCB 2UPDATED 8:27pm 6/2/14  The Knox County Board’s Finance Committee has said “no” to raises for several elected officials the County Board Chair admits he “screwed up” on last week, but they have proposed a much smaller increase.

The committee tonight voted five-to-two to give the Knox County Sheriff a $1,500 raise per year for four years, plus percentage annual raises based on the union contract for his employees, and a $1,300 raise with similar terms for the County Clerk and Recorder.  The full County Board will vote on the proposal at a special meeting Tuesday night.

6-2-14 KCB 1

(AFSCME Staff Representative Randy Lynch speaks while Knox County Board Chair Greg Bacon listens.)

Members of the American Federation of the State, County, and Municipal Employees packed the County Annex to voice their displeasure, including Staff Representative Randy Lynch, who said all the county elected officials are doing a good job, but that the originally-proposed raises were “ridiculous” and “out of line.”  Lynch said that the union has given concessions in tight budget times, and that the county elected officials should do the same.

Finance Committee Jeff Jefferson said he, too, thought the raises were excessive, but that something needed to be given to the elected officials.  Salaries for the county officials must be set, under Illinois law, 180 days prior to the date they take office — in Knox County’s case, December first.  Jefferson proposed at reviewing the salaries during each elected official’s third year in office, instead of at the last minute.

Some County Board members and Treasurer Robin Davis suggested that some county union employees received raises exceeding 1.5% when figures are tabulated — something the union disputed.

County officials say the elected officials have taken several salary freezes over the years, while the union contends pay raises have been significant.

The special Knox County Board meeting is at 6:30pm Tuesday at the Knox County Courthouse.