Cole County Salary Controversy
Cole County Treasurer Al Mueller was supposed to get a raise starting in 2007. Mueller's current annual salary is about $42,000. He would have seen a $13,000 increase in pay in 2007 under the salary schedule that went into effect January 1, but Monday's vote to change the salary schedule threatens to take that away.
The vote voided the Commission's unanimous decision in December of 2004 to equalize the salaries of Cole County officials at $55,000 a year. Mueller said the vote was illegal because the changes to the salary schedule had already been put in place.
"The salary commission met last year and approved a proposal that went into effect January 1, '05. You can't go back retroactively now and change that," Mueller said.
Cole County Auditor Jim LePage prompted the vote to freeze the Commission's current salaries. He said other county employees also deserve raises and there isn't enough money in the budget to accommodate everyone.
"Our employees are our assets. They are the ones that really do the work. They are the ones that have careers at stake," LePage said.
Mueller said Monday's 5 to 7 vote didn't meet the two-thirds majority required by the state statute to decrease county employee salaries. Cole County is one of thirteen first class counties in Missouri. LePage said, when checking the numbers, Cole County employees are lagging far behind their colleagues in other counties.