FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee voted  6-3 on Wednesday to approve annual pay of $10,000 for each of the three commissioners for 2020-21, and eliminate money to hire a new part-time employee.

For commissioners, it is $2,000 less than the $12,000 they currently make, but $4,000 more than the $6,000 the committee approved in a preliminary vote in June.

It is the second time since 2016 the budget panel members have reduced commissioners’ pay.

The budget panel approved a $6.79 million overall spending plan, which reflects an estimated increase of $64,024 from the 2019-20 budget. Of that amount, $4.54 million is for county government and $2.25 million is for the jail.

The budget next goes to commissioners, who meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the county courthouse. It will take a unanimous commission vote to make a change in the committee’s budget. If there is a proposed change, the plan would go back to Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee. It would take a vote of six of the nine members to override the commissioners’ changes.

Besides the change in pay, reductions to the commissioners’ department include the elimination of $7,098 to hire a part-time employee to learn how the commissioners office works in case a veteran employee retires.

County Clerk Julie Magoon said she was more than willing to forgo the new employee. Her compromise was that the committee leave the money in for a current, part-time employee to work more hours to help out at the office. The employee is picking up more duties since the treasurer is not coming in as often during regular hours.

The committee also voted 5-4 to reduce the treasurer’s budget from $97,033 to $79,212. The decrease reflects a reduction of the treasurer’s salary from the proposed $16,597 to $12,000 and associated reductions including in workers’ compensation and FICA insurances, and benefits. Commissioners voted to reduce the treasurer’s salary to $12,000 and eliminate benefits. The treasurer works on average 13 hours a week and has been working staggered shifts since the onset of COVID-19.

There are no set hours in the statute governing elected county treasurers.  The statute is very broad and vague, Magoon said.

Treasurer Pam Prodan previously told commissioners it was not her responsibility to answer phones and do other tasks. Magoon said Wednesday she agreed with her. Other treasurers in the past had done those tasks.

The vote also included the elimination of $7,000 for an electronic time clock.


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