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SIOUX CITY | A panel on Monday proposed freezing salaries for Woodbury County supervisors and raising the pay for other county elected officials.

The Woodbury County Compensation Board recommended raises of 6 percent for County Treasurer Mike Clayton, 5 percent for Sheriff Dave Drew, 4 percent for County Attorney P.J. Jennings, and 3 percent for Auditor Pat Gill. Under state law, the five county supervisors can approve or reject the recommendations, or reduce the increases by the same percentage.

Each Iowa county has a county compensation board to recommend the level of pay to prevent the elected officials from approving it directly. In Woodbury County, two members are appointed by the supervisors and one each is named by the county attorney, auditor, sheriff and treasurer.

The compensation board approved its recommendations on a 3-2 vote, with Frank Baron, the treasurer pick, Brian Buckmeier, the county attorney's representative, and Doug Phillips, the sheriff's pick, supporting the measure. Casting dissenting votes were Tim Bottaro and Katie Colling, who both represent the supervisors. Al Sturgeon, who represented the auditor, abstained.

Bottaro, a local attorney, said the five supervisors did not agree on their pay, with some wanting no raises and others an increase equal to the cost-of-living index.

Last year, the compensation board proposed 5 percent raises for all the county elected officials. By a 4-1 vote, the supervisors reduced the increase to 3 percent.

The current annual pay includes $39,461 for supervisors chairman Matthew Ung, $33,151 each for the four other supervisors, $120,805 for attorney P.J. Jennings, $100,033 for Sheriff Dave Drew, $84,624 for auditor Pat Gill and $82,115 for treasurer Mike Clayton.

Baron, a local attorney, said Clayton manages more employees than Gill as auditor, so the gap between the two department heads needs to be closed. That's one reason why the board recommended a higher percentage increase for Clayton.

"It is time to equalize," Baron said.

The compensation board recommendations also help set pay raises for top staff in the county departments, who, by law, can receive up to 85 percent of the elected officials' salary.

The board of supervisors must vote on the compensation board recommendations by March 15, which is the deadline for the supervisors to finalize their fiscal 2018 budget.

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County and education reporter

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