Who Gets Raises?

As the budgeting process continues for local governments, one of the first interesting issues to arise was the Loudon County school board member's request to raise their own salaries from $300.00 per month to $400.00 per month.

The reality is, board members can't really raise their own pay. That authority rests with the county commission. County commission is responsible for fixing school board members salaries. See state law below.

TCA-49-2-202. Members and meetings.
(d) The compensation of members of the county board (of education) shall be fixed by the county legislative body for their services when attending regular and special meetings and discharging the duties imposed by this title; provided, that the county trustee shall pay no voucher issued to members unless the voucher has been approved by the county mayor; and provided, further, that no member of any board shall receive less than four dollars ($4.00) per day for the member's services.

The school board has adopted a budget to send to county commission. Included in their budget request to the commission is the $100.00 per month raises. The commission must approve the school board's budget as requested or reject it as a whole. The commission can not reject parts of the school board's budget.

I have heard that some commissioners are not happy that school board members are requesting raises and could be inclined to reject the board's budget because of the raises. But would that really be right.

In 2007 Loudon County commissioners adopted a resolution to set their annual compensation at 10% of the mayor's salary. County mayor's salaries are set by the state. That puts the commissioners pay right at $8,000.00 per year or about $666.00 per month. Currently, school board members are paid $3,600.00 per year or $300.00 per month.

The school board is asking for a $100.00 per month raise on a current $300.00 per month salary. That's about a 33% raise. 

Under the new 2013-2014 state mandated minimum salaries in class 4 counties, most Loudon County elected officials (this does not include school board members) will be receiving a 4.6% raise. For county commissioners that would be about an extra $368.00 per year.

Click Here For 2013-2014 state salary minimums.

A couple of questions. If county commission adopts the school board's budget as is, does that legally meet the requirements of the state law? Or would county commission need a separate vote on just the adoption of a salary increase for school board members?

Could county commissioners making well over $8,000.00 per year really object to the request of school board members to make $4,800.00 per year?

Instead of a 33% raise for school board members, should school board members receive the same 4.6% raise as commissioners?

Mostly joking, some school board members have suggested maybe their pay should be based on 10% of the director of schools salary like the commissioners pay is based on 10% of the mayor's salary. 

Given that state law requires a minimum pay for county commissioners of $30 for each day's attendance at meetings of the county commission, and state law requires the minimum pay for school board members to be no less than four dollars ($4.00) per day for the member's services, should commissioners and school board members be paid any more than the state minimum? I don't know. That's up to you all.

I'll keep you posted on the unfolding drama.