Chairman Beltman Casts Tie-Breaking Vote to Raise Salaries - OCTA Scores Victory!

OCTA friends and supporters - Great Job! Your phone calls and personal visits with the county supervisors gave a big boost of support to local taxpayers. Thank you!

The Osceola County Compensation Board's salary recommendations for local elected officials were soundly rejected Tuesday morning, January 20, 2009, by a 3-2 vote of the County Supervisors. The vote came with a little drama and spirited discussion from the public and county officials alike. County Recorder Arlene Kuehl wanted to know why members of the public didn't think they deserved the raise. At one point she even challenged a member of the Comp Board for what she thought was an unfair price for some real estate the County purchased from him. Supervisor Pedley quickly saw this line of reasoning had little to do with the issue at hand and urged Chairman Beltman to bring this discussion to a close. He did.

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, when Chairman Beltman made his recommendation to the Comp Board for salary increases he endorsed the 5.3% increase for all elected officials. None of the other supervisors offered any comment to the contrary, though given many opportunities by Chairman Greg Kosters. During the recent supervisors meeting the four supervisors each signed a recommended increase on a piece of paper and handed them to Chairman Beltman. Beltman then read three of the four out loud and said they average around 2.49% The fourth proposed salary increase was not mentioned. A 0% increase was not heard at all. Why is this important?

When it came time for the vote Supervisor Pedley translated the new rate into a 53% reduction in the Comp Board's proposed rate and made that a motion. Supervisor Imhoff seconded it. At that moment, contrary to his silence at the Comp Board meeting, contrary to what he apparently wrote down on his paper Supervisor Bootsma became convicted that the Supervisors didn't need a pay raise. Chairman Beltman, looking a little surprised, asked him twice on what basis he took this position and Bootmsa replied, "I just don't think the Supervisors need a pay raise at this time. I think we should send it back to the Comp Board to reconsider." Magically, Supervisor Shulte joined in - agreeing with Bootsma.

When the vote was called it was a tie - 2 votes for a 2.49% raise (53% reduction in Comp Board proposal) and two opposed.

Chairman Beltman broke the tie and voted for the pay raise. With the economy spiraling out of control, with talk of S-O school district employees having to cut back on health care benefits, a pay freeze and maybe even staff layoffs Supervisors Imhoff, Pedley and Beltman voted for healthy raise.

OCTA members present were pleased that many of you around the county helped Supervisors Bootsma and Shulte see the light. Your effort yielded at least a 53% cut in the Comp Board's proposed irresponsible increase and came one vote short of going back for a 0% increase for the Supervisors. The OCTA mailed fliers across the county and distributed 300 copies of this flier around Sibley and Ocheyedan Monday afternoon, January 19.

Meanwhile, call Greg Kosters and let him know how disappointed you are in the Comp Board's irresponsible recommendations. His phone number is 754-2697. The other Comp board members who voted to approve this irresponsible salary recommendation are Richard Bremer (758-3485), Harold Dawson (754-2517), Ken Harthoorn (736-2524) and Pam Vande Hoef (754-3893).

The OCTA will keep an eye out to alert local taxpayers in the future. Keep checking back to our website.