Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 27, 1999

Sheriff asks for larger salary increase

By John Holler

There is something to be said for experience and job knowledge when it affects how much someone is paid.

If an employee has been on the job for several years, it would seem rather obvious that he or she would be paid considerably more than someone new to the position.

However, what happens when a pay increase doesn't meet the expectations of the personnel involved? As it pertains to Wright County Sheriff Don Hozempa, he gets a chance to discuss the matter personally with the Wright County Board.

At the Dec. 21 meeting of the board, the commissioners were prepared to approve the salaries for the county's elected officials - sheriff, county attorney, auditor/treasurer and recorder. However, after seeing the recommendations of the personnel committee of the whole - a committee comprised solely of commissioners and County Coordinator Dick Norman - the committee's recommendation to the board (essentially a self-recommendation) was put off.

Hozempa had asked that his salary - set to be $79,524 in 2000 - be adjusted higher because of the criteria set forth in the setting of salaries, which include performance reviews, market considerations, experience and qualifications.

While the salaries for the other three positions for elected officials were approved - County Attorney Tom Kelly ($84,246), Auditor/Treasurer Doug Gruber ($78,180) and Recorder Marcia Lantto ($65,907) - the board voted 4-1 to remove Hozempa's salary from the resolution and agreed to hear the matter again.

Commissioner Pat Sawatzke voted against separating the salaries, since they had been agreed upon previously in committee.

"I thought we had gone through the criteria for this position and set a salary that provided more than a 6 percent increase from last year," Sawatzke said. "I thought it had been resolved. I can't assume what the reasons were for pulling it off and discussing it again, but the other four commissioners agreed to do it. I just felt that it was something we looked at and decided on and it didn't need to be revisited."

The board will set Hozempa's salary at the Dec. 28 board meeting.

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