BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell County commissioners are considering increasing the salaries of the register of deeds and sheriff.
The N.C. General Assembly does not set salaries for elected officials, and commissioners are required by law to review the salaries of the register of deeds and sheriff.
The Board of Commissioners approved a study earlier this year to determine if the county’s elected officials were being fairly compensated, Vice Chairman Tommy Bowles said. The salary study, which compares Iredell officials to their counterparts in similar-size counties, was conducted by Piedmont Triad Regional Council.
David Hill, management analyst for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, presented the findings of the pay and benefits survey during the commissioners’ recent retreat.
Data was requested from 19 counties, all of which are either neighboring counties or comparable in size, staffing and service provisions as Iredell, he explained.
Register of Deeds
Iredell County Register of Deeds Ron Wyatt’s salary is $80,995, which is .04-percent below the market average of $81,359.
Wyatt has served in that position for 3.1 years. The market average for his counterparts is 8.5 years.
Hill recommended moving Register of Deeds classification from grade 37 to grade 40 with a salary range of $67,855 to $105,244.
Salaries for Register of Deeds
• Iredell: $80,995; 3.08 years of service
• Alexander: $45,670; 0.83 years
• Wilkes: $57,760; 3 years
• Yadkin: $50,074; 5 years
• Davie: $77,456; 18.83 years
• Rowan: $78, 693; 7 years
• Cabarrus: $80,142; 6 years
• Mecklenburg: $132,525; 2.83 years
• Lincoln: $77,001; 8.83 years
• Catawba: $96,208; 14.83 years
Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell’s salary is $120,170, which is 1.4-percent below the market average of $121,814.
Campbell has served in that role for 4.83 years. The market average for sheriff is 6.5 years.
Hill recommended reclassifying the Sheriff position from grade 46 to 47 with a salary range of $88,874 to $137,845.
Salaries for Sheriffs
• Iredell: $120,170; 4.83 years of service
• Alexander: $76,706; 10 years
• Wilkes: $106,051; 9 years
• Yadkin: $93,034; 7.50 years
• Davie: $89,129; 2.83 years
• Rowan: $121,840; 9.50 years
• Cabarrus: $119,794; 0.83 years
• Mecklenburg: $191,626; 0.83 years
• Lincoln: $128,301; 0.83 years
• Catawba: $140,000; 0.83 years
Of the counties surveyed, approximately 70.6 percent provided a longevity supplement to the sheriff and register of deeds. Hill recommended that the county consider developing a longevity supplement program to recognize employees for years of service.
Bowles said that the board will review the data in greater detail and then make a decision on what type of potential pay raise or benefit increase they will make.
“We were thinking we were behind, but we’re pretty close to where we want to be,” Bowles said. “I anticipate a small increase, but nothing major.”
Commissioner Pay & Benefits
Later in the year, commissioners will also consider a potential pay increase for themselves.
The current salary for Iredell commissioners is $10,757. The recommendation is to increase their salary by a$1,120 to $11,877. The market average is $12,720.
• Iredell: $10,757
• Alexander: $11,000
• Wilkes: $6,500
• Yadkin: $9,700
• Davie: $4,387
• Rowan: $13,850
• Cabarrus: $13,133
• Mecklenburg: $28,336
• Lincoln: $7,678
• Catawba: $10, 200
Commissioners have not reviewed the board’s pay in 10 years. A small increase, probably not the entire recommended amount, will be considered for the next fiscal year, officials stated.
“My goal is to incorporate our data into our budget process next year. That way we can take it into advisement for our budget process and make a decision by July 1. This will allow us to bring it in line with our public hearing and hear any concerns,” Commissioner Gene Houpe said.
Hill also recommended that the board consider adding health care coverage and benefits to their compensation package. Sixty percent of the counties surveyed provide healthcare, dental and vision to commissioners.
Bowles pointed out that Iredell County is more conservative than most counties and that he isn’t in favor of voting to add health care coverage to their benefits.
“Politically, it’s never a good idea to give yourself a raise. I think we are fine the way we are. I think all of the commissioners are surviving. You have to understand what it pays going in,” Bowles said.