County officials get salary bump

Oct. 28—This story has been updated to correct an error caused by incorrect information provided to the Tribune. The Asotin County salary increases range from 11% to 14% for elected officials. The sheriff received the high end, while the others will get an 11% bump.

ASOTIN — Elected officials in Asotin County will be getting a wage increase in 2023, thanks to the salary commission.

The commission, which is made up of nine county residents, recently determined the pay hikes for the three commissioners, auditor, assessor, clerk, treasurer, sheriff and prosecutor.

Commissioner Chuck Whitman said Thursday the county is not involved in the group's process and must adhere to its decision.

"In my personal opinion, I do not agree with the salary increases recommended by the salary commission," Whitman said.

Even with inflation and rising cost-of-living increases, the pay increase will likely be significantly more than most county employees receive in 2023, which could cause some awkward discussions during budget workshops, officials said. A few said they wish their entire staff could get big raises, too, because of all of their hard work and dedication.

As of Jan. 1, the three commissioners will be paid $60,035 per year, the auditor, clerk, assessor and treasurer will be getting $73,626, the sheriff moves to $95,996 a year, and the county's portion of the prosecutor's paycheck will increase to $66,600. The state pays an additional $101,585 toward the prosecutor's compensation.

Asotin County's salary commission was rebooted in 2017 after being inactive for years. Four members are appointed by the commissioners, and the remainder are registered voters who are randomly selected by the auditor and agree to participate. The requirements call for two people from each commissioner district, and one position remains open at this time.

The group met Sept. 26, but several members were absent. A quorum of six was present, and they were given salary comparisons from nine other counties to consider.

The commission is made up of Chris Loseth, Steve Cowdrey, Scott Stohl, Lucy Dukes, Sonya Wilcox, William Cable, Joanne Runyan, Maureen Weber and Brad Forgey. Loseth, Cowdrey and Weber were unable to attend.

Washington's minimum wage is also going up in 2023. On Jan. 1, workers 16 years and older will be paid $15.74 per hour, an 8.6% increase.

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