Adam Schwiebert, a policy analyst for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, said the legislature wanted to give parity between the justice system officials raises and the rest of the elected county officials.
“Ultimately everyone gets four years at 5 percent, it just took a little longer,” he said. A 1.75 percent cost of living bump was also given to all elected officials through 2028.
County Treasurer Nancy Nix has to wait even longer than the rest to get her raise. Her $75,273 salary will increase to $84,440 in September 2021. Treasurers aren’t sworn in at the beginning of the year because of the tax collection schedule.
“I’m satisfied with my pay, I understood when I ran for this office what the pay was and we are at the whim of the legislature,” she said. “If they deem that our raise comes eight months later, so be it.”
Prior to 2016, elected officials had not seen a raise since 2006. Clerk of Courts Mary Swain said she understands why pay was stagnant for so long.
“Times were tight in those days, and it wasn’t only elected officials, it was our employees who weren’t getting raises also,” she said. “I don’t think we were being treated unfairly. I think the economy had to recover somewhat and I think it is recovering, so the time is right now and in ‘16 we were starting to recover.”
There are six categories of elected official raises, based on population. Butler County falls in the 200,000 to 400,000 tier but is very close to the next level. Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix is the second-highest paid elected official after the common pleas judges and her $127,563 annual salary will move to $143,099 in 2021. If the county tops 400,000 residents, her salary would jump to $146,575.
Reynolds doesn’t think that will happen.
“I think we’re going to be close, I think it’s going to be around 390,000, but I don’t think it’s going to get to 400,000,” he said. “That’s just my feel, that’s a big jump. While Butler County is growing rapidly, I’m not seeing that kind of building going on.”
The county jobs are full-time careers for all of the elected officials except for the commissioners. County Administrator Judi Boyko said the commissioners are required to hold at least 50 meetings a year and sit on a couple dozen boards and committees.
“All of Butler County’s commissioners invest a lot of time and energy and talents in projects and events, in items and issues affecting the county,” Boyko said. “So they are not part-time commissioners. They are full-time commissioners.”