April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Town Council, clerk-treasurer to see pay raises under proposal

By HSJ Online [email protected]

The Hope Town Council and Clerk-Treasurer would see pay raises under a proposal raised last week during a review of town employee salaries and pay ranges.

At a work session last week, council members went over data and recommendations from a survey of similar-sized towns in Indiana and what those towns were paying people in similar positions to Hope. The survey was performed by New Focus HR LLC.

The survey compared the pay in Brownstown, Versailles, Liberty, Knightstown and Milan to Hope's pay.

One of the biggest pay disparities between the average of the five communities and Hope was in the clerk-treasurer. The pay for Hope's clerk-treasurer is set at $28,653 a year, while the average of the other five communities is $40,799, a difference of $12,146. The highest of the five comparison communities was Brownstown, which pays its clerk-treasurer $51,480, while the lowest was Knightstown which pays $33,000 a year.

The New Focus HR study recommended setting a pay range of $31,512 to $47,268 for the clerk-treasurer's position.

Council President Clyde Compton praised Clerk-Treasurer Diane Burton's work ethic and diligence.

"I am down here at least three times a week, if not more, and to all the divisions of this town, even though I hate to say it, she is a hell of a worker," Compton joked.

Compton recommended raising Burton's pay to the bottom of the suggested pay scale, or $31,512.

Councilman Greg Sims cautioned approving a pay raise without setting minimum hours in the job description. He said Burton is clearly working full-time but he did not want to get into a position where a new clerk-treasurer in the future could turn it into a part-time job with the full-time pay.

Councilman Jonathan Titus pointed out that with the low pay, high responsibilities and required skills of the position, few people would be interested in running for clerk-treasurer. Burton, who ran as an independent, was unopposed in the general election held this month.

"If she retires, what kind of candidate is going to run for that office if they find out (what the position pays)?," Titus said.

Councilman Ohmer Miller said that the minimum of the scale is inadequate and suggested instead that the clerk-treasurer pay be taken to $33,500 or a raise of $4,847. Council voted 5-0 to approve the pay raise.

Council members approved giving themselves a $400 raise, taking their pay from $3,186 a year to $3,586. That was still lower than the $4,230 average for other communities. The council also agreed to continue to pay the council president $400 more a year than regular members.

Town Council meets this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. and is scheduled to consider next year's salary ordinance.

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