Jefferson County elected officials are asking the Quorum Court to follow state law and give them a cost of living increase.
A letter from Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson that was included in the monthly packets delivered to members of the county’s legislative body said the law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2011, mandates a three-percent adjustment for elected officials each Jan. 1 be added to the minimum and maximum salaries of elected officials. Because of the July Fourth holiday, Quorum Court committees will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
According to the letter, Jefferson County is a Class 6 county and elected officials’ salaries are “well below what other counties of the same class are paying their elected officials.”
As an example, Robinson said the minimum salary for county judges is $40,575 and the maximum salary is $93,275. County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV is paid $75.555.15 or approximately $17,900below the maximum. The last time county elected officials got a raise was July 31, 2008.
“We the elected officials feel that this law has been overlooked by the Quorum Court,” Robinson said in the letter. “We are asking that the Quorum Court recognize this statute and rectify what has not been done as required by law.”
Robinson said in the letter that the elected officials realize that “it would be a financial burden to give officials raises from the date this became law” and suggested granting raises retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016, or a total six percent increase.
“This would not be a great burden at all on the county and would still keep us below the maximum salaries for a county of our class,” Robinson said in the letter. “We the elected officials stand ready to support this endeavor.”
Also on the agenda is a request from the sheriff’s office to establish a petty cash fund for the Criminal Investigations Division. Arkansas law allows such funds to be used for small and or emergency operating expenses.
The proposed ordinance would establish the fund with $1,000 and require that a custodian of the fund be set up and submit a monthly report of expenditures, with the funds coming from County General. A resolution authorizing now retired Capt. John McNeil to buy two weapons that he had been issued during his time of service will also be considered. McNeil, who retired Friday, wants to buy a Winchester .308 rifle and an Ithica .12-gauge shotgun that combined have a fair market value of $450.