Southard actually broached the subject of a salary cap in May 2014 when he suggested they might pay everyone $9,000. The idea was never revisited.
The problem was public officers such as the commissioners cannot receive raises while they are in office. Back in 2001, the Clinton County commissioners wanted to give their veterans board a pay increase, but because of the aforementioned prohibition, the commissioners all resigned, and the judge in that county reappointed them the same day. The attorney general said that was a no-no.
Jeffers, who re-introduced the salary cap Wednesday, said as each new or reappointed commissioner joins the board over the next few years their salary will be the capped amount, until they are all earning the same. If the board feels a raise is warranted after that, they can revisit the issue. He said they didn’t want the salaries to continue to go “up and up and up.”
The commissioners also approved the $1.9 million 2016 budget. The biggest ticket item was $590,000 for veterans’ assistance, and it represents a $30,000 increase over this year. Transportation is also going up by $25,000, in part because of contractual obligations, but the commission is also expecting a mass mailing to boost the the number of veterans they serve.
Commissioner Ken Smith said he was at a recent training session and other counties have said the postcards — 26,000 will be mailed soon to county veterans telling about vet board services — are the best outreach tool, not radio spots or billboards, as the board has previously considered.
“Warren County has them billboards, they’re not doing very good,” Smith said. “Clermont County I think it was, was sending out the cards to every veteran and they got swamped with that. With us sending out those cards you might get a surprise.”
Executive Director Caroline Bier penciled in raises from one to four percent for the employees, but the overall impact is a drop of three percent for raises because they have several new employees who are making less money. The average raise is 2.1 percent.