OREGON — A recommendation to increase Ogle County Board member salaries starting in 2023 might include more than quintupling the chairperson’s pay.
The county board chairperson currently makes at least $4,800 a year — a base of $250 per month, plus $150 per month for up to three meetings and an additional $50 per diem for any subsequent meetings in a month. That rate was set May 15, 2001, according to the Ogle County Board rules of order.
Ogle County Personnel and Salary Committee Chairperson John “Skip” Kenney plans to propose to his committee that the county board chairperson be paid $25,000 per year, plus mileage. For the county board vice chairperson, Kenney’s proposal is $15,000 per year, plus mileage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index inflation calculator, $4,800 in May 2001 has the same buying power as $7,409.61 in September 2021.
“Believe me, I don’t believe in giving money away,” Kenney said in an Oct. 26 phone interview. “But I do believe in paying for performance.”
The job of the county board chairperson has changed significantly since 2001, he said. It used to be “very much” part-time, whereas today, it essentially is a full-time position, Kenney said.
“It’s a big business, and there’s an awful lot going on that people have no idea,” he said. “We had an administrator at one time that eased that, back a couple years ago when Ed Rice was chairman [of the Ogle County Board].
“He said that, even with the administrator, the county board chairman was extremely busy because of the social aspects of the job that they have to take care of on behalf of the county,” Kenney added.
Ogle County first hired an administrator in June 2006. Jim Mielke held the position through September 2008, when he resigned. Meggon McKinley was hired to replace him in April 2009 at a rate of $80,000 per year; she resigned in January 2011.
The Personnel and Salary Committee held a special meeting on Oct. 19 during which members came to a consensus on recommended salary rates for committee chairpersons, committee vice chairpersons and regular county board members.
- Committee chairperson: $100 per meeting, plus mileage;
- Committee vice chairperson: $75 per meeting, plus mileage;
- Regular committee member: $70 per meeting, plus mileage;
- No pay for missed meetings.
The mileage rate — which is set by the Internal Revenue Service — is 56 cents per mile.
Kenney’s proposals for county board chairperson and vice chairperson were not discussed because of time constraints and a legal requirement to tie those two salaries to district reapportionment following the 2020 census. Committee members plan to consider the pay rates for those two positions during their next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 9.
All of the recommendations will be passed on to the Finance Committee, Kenney said. If OK’d there, they will be sent to the Executive Committee and then to the full county board.
“[I am] glad to see everybody in agreement,” Ogle County Board Chairperson John Finfrock told committee members after their discussion. “I have no dog in this show, so I’m happy to see that everybody has come together and figured out what they want to do.”
Finfrock attended the Oct. 19 meeting, but did not participate in the discussion. He regularly attends committee meetings to which he is not assigned.