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BENTONVILLE -- Benton County's justices of the peace endorsed a request from County Judge Barry Moehring the county be allowed to offer candidates for two jobs a higher starting salary than policy allows.

Moehring said John Sudduth, general services administrator, retired at the beginning of March and he has begun searching for a replacement. Moehring said being able to offer a higher beginning salary than the ordinance allows will help attract better candidates. The ordinance sets a maximum starting salary at 90 percent of the midpoint of the salary range for a position.

"John was making about $72,000 when he retired," Moehring said. "If I offer 90 percent of the midpoint I can only offer about $60,000."

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Moehring said Sudduth was overseeing work on the proposed $30 million courts building project and was responsible for maintenance and upkeep of other buildings. He also had oversight of the planning division, the building division and the environmental division.

"I'd like to hire the most-qualified person, given that we've got a $30 million building project looming," Moehring said.

The proposal also asked for a waiver of the pay policy for the accounting manager, who has taken a job under another elected county official, and for a salary adjustment for the payroll manager, raising the pay for that job from $46,497 to $50,000.

The justices of the peace debated the waiver of the personnel policy, with some expressing concerns other elected officials will have administrators and other employees for which they will want to seek waivers.

"I think the county may be opening up a can of worms here," Pat Adams, justice of the peace for District 6, said during the discussion. "Any elected official who has a person or person who are critical to their office, what if they all come in asking for waivers? They're going to ask for more and more and more. I don't see an end to it."

Mike McKenzie, justice of the peace for District 1, said he supported the request, pointing out the salary will still be within the limits set by the ordinance.

"It's still going to be an offer within the salary range," McKenzie said. "We're just talking about the starting point within that range."

The committee voted to send the waiver requests on to the Quorum Court.

NW News on 03/14/2018

Print Headline: County officials OK salary waivers

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