WABASHA, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Wabasha County Commissioner Merl Norman lost a bid for re-election to arch-rival Don Springer three weeks ago by four votes. Now, Norman and two other commissioners have voted to slash the pay of the county commissioners serving next year.
In a meeting Tuesday night, three of the five county commissioners voted in favor of making pay cuts to their own salaries by $7,000 making them possibly the lowest paid commissioners in the state.
The decision is not final.
Each year, about this time, the budgets are set for the upcoming year. The suggestion to cut commissioner salary was brought through the budget committee consisting of four members, two of which are commissioners Merl Norman and Deb Roeschen. The idea would be to lower a commissioner's salary from $17,000 annually to $10,000 with the board chair making $500 more.
Wabasha County Finance Director, Deb Koenig, has been plenty busy planning the options. "And with the next year potential of the government study commission coming back and saying that they would recommend us having an administrator, we would put $75,000 into our budget to cover an interim-possible administrator for next year."
Commissioner Merl Norman explained his vote saying "it's what we need to do to balance the budget."
Commissioner Dave Harms stated he was in favor of considering the plan -- "...if we have to make hard decisions for other departments and people in the county, they should also affect us." Harms admits that the move would hurt him as well.
The vote will be finalized at the December 11th meeting.
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