Douglas County Board sets salaries for elected officials
County clerk to see $5,000 bump in pay to keep up with evolving responsibilities.
After years of maintaining the same salary for elected officials, the Douglas County Board set new salary guidelines for the county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds.
Under the compensation approved for the register of deeds and treasurer, salaries will increase by 2% annually for the next four years starting at $65,694 annually in 2021.
The county clerk’s salary will increase to $70,794 and will increase by 2% annually during the four-year term. The county clerk's current salary is $64,406.
The board took action before candidates circulate petitions to run for the positions, which are on the ballot in November.
Over the years, the Douglas County Board has typically maintained the same salary level for its constitutional officers, including the sheriff and clerk of courts.
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Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said Sheriff Tom Dalbec brought to the board’s attention that there were deputies who earned as much as he did, and that the chief deputy earned more than him. However, salaries cannot be changed in the middle of an elected official's term. Terms for the sheriff and clerk of courts run through 2022. In the months leading up to the election for those posts, the county board will consider salary guidelines for them.
County Administrator Ann Doucette looked at the county clerk's position and its duties after County Clerk Sue Sandvick asked about a potential salary change. Sandvick's office has responsibilities for a broader array of services than comparably populated counties in Wisconsin, but the position paid less on average in Douglas County, according to analysis given to the board.
“That office has increased its responsibilities,” Liebaert said. “If you look at what they have to do, they’re our No. 1 go-to.”
In addition to administering elections, marriage licenses, managing County Board agendas and records retention, and other statutory duties, the Douglas County Clerk’s Office manages the board’s iPads, handles mail and scheduling, accepts passport requests, handles county land sales, manages advertising and insurance claims, and aids with tax-deeded property.
During the Husky Energy refinery fire and now with coronavirus, Liebaert said the responsibility for keeping the public informed through the county’s website also falls to Sandvick's office.
Duties and responsibilities of the other two offices hadn’t changed as much as they have in the clerk’s office during Sandvick’s tenure, he said.
“Anytime there is something that needs to be done, that office usually fills it, and the responsibility to make sure that work gets done falls on the guy that’s the head of that, and that’s (Sandvick),” Liebaert said. “We thought it was a legitimate request and probably overdue.”
The April 9 meeting, held by teleconference, was the last County Board meeting before a new board is seated April 21.