Weld elected officials’ salaries get $50,000 boost from county oversight board | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld elected officials’ salaries get $50,000 boost from county oversight board

Tyler Silvy

Steve Reams

The Weld County Council on Monday increased Weld County elected officials' salaries by nearly $50,000 per year, upping salaries for the sheriff, clerk and recorder and assessor.

The Board of Weld County Commissioners, which voted this past fall to place an item on the November ballot that would have eliminated the county council, did not receive a raise.

Council members gave the largest raise to Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, who lobbied during the public comment portion of the meeting for increased pay based on responsibility. Reams presented the council with salary information for a variety of positions, including positions comparable to his own, like the Greeley Police Chief.

The difference, Reams said, is he also has a jail to run.

A couple other people spoke out in favor of a raise for Reams, with one saying he should be the highest paid government employee in Weld.

Council members ultimately agreed, boosting Reams' pay to $160,000 from $140,000. That raise, as well as a $17,500 raise for Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes and a $10,000 raise for Weld County Assessor Chris Woodruff will take effect Jan. 1, 2019, after elections for each position have taken place.

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Both Reams and Koppes are running for re-election. Woodruff is term limited, and Weld County Deputy Assessor Brenda Dones is the only declared candidate for the assessor position.

Reams also used his public comment period to lobby for a raise for the clerk and recorder, saying Koppes didn't get a fair shake four years ago due to politics. Koppes is currently the lowest paid county-wide elected official.

The council last gave raises in 2014, boosting salaries for commissioners, assessor and clerk and recorder to their current levels from $87,300. The council also increased the sheriff's salary to $140,000 from $111,500.

Raises for commissioners took effect in January 2017, and raises for the other elected officials took effect January 2015.

In the space of four years, salaries will have gone up 44 percent for the sheriff and 37 percent for the assessor and clerk and recorder positions.

The council's decision appeared to come down to two sets of documents:

» A one-page Excel print out provided by Reams showing various salary data

» A four-page set of recommendations from local 501(c)4 organization People United for Responsible Government that contributed heavily to the campaign to keep the Weld County Council this past fall.

Both documents were provided to council members Monday. Councilmen who spoke to The Tribune after the meeting said they had plenty of time to review the materials and look at other data. Council members said afterward the sheriff's responsibilities warranted higher pay.

It was a new year, new era for this council, which for more than a year has been plagued with infighting, with Gene Stille and Charles Tucker battling bitterly with fellow councilmen Brett Abernathy, Mike Grillos and Jordan Jemiola on a variety of topics. They came together when four out of five county commissioners voted to put their fate on the November ballot. They seemed to stay together Monday.

Stille, who once called for the resignation of Abernathy and Grillos, was selected as the council's president — unanimously. Tucker, Stille's trusted ally, was selected as the vice president — unanimously.

Publicly, every vote was unanimous. After the meeting, Tucker and Stille said they would have preferred raises for commissioners, but they knew they couldn't get it done.

—Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.

Blowing the whistle

The Weld County Council on Monday voted to establish an ad-hoc committee to help establish a different committee that would hear whistle blower complaints. The ad-hoc committee would also make suggestions or recommendations about the structure and procedure for the whistle blower committee, and council members hope to have such a committee established within 30 days.