The Cost of Living is only going up for three of four elected Stevens County officials, according to action taken by the Stevens County Board of Commissioners. COLA–or Cost of Living Adjustment–is part of the wages set by the Board annually for elected officials. County Commissioner Ron Staples recommended reducing a COLA increase for Auditor-Treasurer Neil Wiese, from a recommended 2.5% to 1.5%. With COLA set at 2.5%, Wiese’s annual wages would be $72,776. A 1.5% increase would set his salary at $72,066.
Staples did not offer a reason for the recommended change however, in the past, he has expressed a desire to keep wage increases to 1.5% for elected and non-union employees. With Commissioners Staples, Phil Gausman, and Larry Sayre voting for the smaller wage increase and Commissioners Jeanne Ennen and Paul Watzke voting against, the measure passed.
Commissioner Staples also moved to set COLA increases for Attorney Aaron Jordan and Recorder Virginia Mahoney at 1.5%. Commissioner Gausman seconded the motions, but they failed to pass. Sayre, Ennen, and Watzke voted for 2.5% increases for the two, setting Jordan’s salary at $103,421 and Mahoney’s compensation at $72,432.
The board set Sheriff Jason Dingman’s 2013 salary at $72,780. All four elected officials receive a monthly $750 “cafeteria benefit” for health care.