October 15, 1996
LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
Commissioners' Conference Room - 12:00 noon

PRESENT: Peter Bartel, Marie Bell, Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Carol Jones (arrived at 12:05 p.m.), Del Phelps (arrived at 12:13 p.m.), Jerry Rust, Bud Stewart and Cindy Weeldreyer. Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary.

I. Approval of Minutes:
May 7, 1996, 5:15 p.m.
May 9, 1996, 5:15 p.m.
May 14, 1996, 7:00 p.m.

MOTION: Approval of the Minutes. Cornacchia MOVED, Green SECONDED.

VOTE: 8-0. (Jones and Phelps were not present for this vote.)

II. Public Comments.

None.

III. DISCUSSION/Elected Officials Compensation.

With regard to process, Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, stated that the five commissioners have a conflict of interest, but the rule of necessity for the Budget Committee requires the vote of six people, so the commissioners must actually participate. She noted, however, that Bartel only has a potential conflict of interest as he is a candidate. Wilson indicated that Bartel can participate if he so chooses, or announce otherwise.

Van Vactor reviewed the history on this item (see material on file). He observed that staff and the Elected Official Compensation Board had reviewed: 1) where the commissioners would fit in the County’s compensation plan; 2) cost of living increases given over time to other employees; and 3) a comparison of commissioner salaries with other counties. He reported that the Compensation Board had a lengthy discussion and determined that the analysis they chose to use was going back to 1985 and giving the commissioners the equivalent to employee COLAs from 1985 through 1995 (8.39%) in addition to the same six percent increase given to employees to offset PERS payments (for a total salary adjustment to $48,250) and to provide a one-time payment to compensate commissioners for the six percent PERS they have been paying from their own salary since implementation of Ballot Measure 8. Wilson reviewed the PERS issue, noting that the commissioners did not receive the six percent increase that employees received to offset the effects of Ballot Measure 8; thus, instead, received a net decrease in pay. She recommended that the Budget Committee authorize a one-time payment to commissioners to compensate them for that loss in pay. Responding to Rust’s questions regarding accrued interest, Wilson reported that that issue had not been discussed. Van Vactor stated that another issue is that the Elected Official Compensation Board recommended that all elected officials (including commissioners) receive the average of any COLAs granted to employees in 1997 or 1998. He also reported that Lauren Chouinard had observed that the County could realize significant cost savings if it returned to the previous method of withholding PERS as that would save dollars on workers comp, unemployment, etc. as these are paid on the gross amount of the salaries, observing that the Elected Official Compensation Board had concurred with that recommendation.

There was consensus to have staff review the issue of returning to the previous PERS withholding method and to commence that review prior to next budget cycle (as early as possible).

MOTION: To accept all four recommendations of the Elected Official Compensation Board and also providing for accrued interest of 3% to be paid on the one-time PERS compensation payment to commissioners. Rust MOVED, Bell SECONDED for discussion. Bartel indicated that he did not want to be in a position of any alleged conflict of interest and would choose not to participate in the vote, but would continue to chair the meeting. Rust remarked that the increased compensation is fair, just and appropriate to attract qualified people to the job. Cornacchia concurred, noting that one of his major considerations in deciding to leave office after three terms was the pay level. Phelps echoed Rust and Cornacchia’s comments. Weeldreyer commented that commissioners had only received three pay increases in the last ten years, while routinely giving cost of living increases to employees. She indicated that she would be more comfortable to have commissioners included in future COLAs given to employees.

VOTE: 9-0-1, Bartel abstaining.

There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 12:18 p.m.

Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary

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