At the quarterly meeting of elected officials and department directors on Oct. 25, the county commissioners led a discussion of proposals for increasing elected officials’ salaries.
The proposal discussed at greatest length was to link the salaries in Jefferson County to those in neighboring Clallam, Mason and Kitsap counties.
This would result in increasing the salaries of Jefferson County’s elected officials’ salaries from 47 percent of the salary of a superior court judge to 54 percent, with the notable exception of the salary for the sheriff.
Under this proposal, the sheriff’s salary would be frozen at 47 percent because linked Mason County evidently has a low sheriff’s salary.
If this proposal is adopted, Jefferson County elected officials, including the commissioners, would see their salaries increase from approximately $93,847 to approximately $107,824, except for Sheriff Joe Nole, who would receive the lower figure.
Without questioning the appropriateness of an increase or the inherent conflict of interest on the part of the commissioners in deciding on the same, any proposal that devalues the sheriff relative to other elected officials should be rejected.
Our sheriff and his deputies provide admirable public service in a climate that as of late does not provide law enforcement officers the respect that the vast majority deserve.
Hopefully our commissioners will remember who comes in response to a call for help.
It is certainly not a commissioner or an assessor, for example, but kudos to assessor Jeff Chapman, who was the only participant to state that he was fine leaving salaries at 47 percent.