Commissioners Introduce Fourth Straight Year of Salary Increases

By KATIE MOEN
For Union County HAWK

COUNTY — The Union County Board of County Commissioners voted Thursday to introduce an ordinance that, if adopted, would raise commissioners’ salaries (and those of the county’s numerous administrators and department heads) for the fourth consecutive year.

According to the ordinance (842-2002), County Manager Ed Oatman, who received an 18.8-percent raise in 2021, will see another 2-percent increase in 2023 for a total salary of $225,937.

This year, commissioner board members are each expected to receive a 2-percent salary increase, with the board’s chair slated for an annual salary of $37,922. The ordinance notes that next year’s vice chair will receive $36,718 and that each of the remaining seven commissioners will get $35,515.

Other notable increases include a proposed 9.4-percent raise for Ron Zuber, the county’s director of parks and recreation. If approved, Mr. Zuber’s salary for 2023 would jump to $159,156.

Administrative Services Director Laura Scutari and Human Services Director Debbie-Ann Anderson, meanwhile, are each expected to receive 2-percent salary increases, while Economic Development Director Amy Wagner, who also serves as deputy county manager, and Finance Director Bibi Taylor, head of the Union County Improvement Authority, are each set to receive increases of about 1.9 percent.

The ordinance is slated for a public hearing and final reading at the next meeting of the Commissioner Board, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 15.

The board will appoint representatives to fill its two highest positions at its annual reorganization meeting, scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3. Board Chair Rebecca Williams and Commissioners Sergio Granados and Bette Jean Kowalski, all of whom won re-election to the board in November, will be sworn in to their new terms at the same meeting.

Thursday night’s meeting was the last for current Vice Chair Christopher Hudak, who was elected to the position of county surrogate in November.

“I want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to this county and to this board,” Chair Williams told Mr. Hudak in her closing remarks. “You have always put the needs of our residents first, and we know that you will continue to do so in your new position.”

The Union County Democratic Committee will be tasked with appointing a representative to fill the remainder of Mr. Hudak’s unexpired term.

“I thank the residents of Union County for their confidence in first electing me in 2010, and now it is an honor to have been elected Union County Surrogate. Serving our constituents has been one of the greatest privileges of my professional life and I look forward to serving all of our residents in a different capacity,” Mr. Hudak said. “As I begin the work of the Surrogate, I remember my predecessor, James S. LaCorte, who held this position for 20 years and was a man of grace. My staff and I are committed to extending that same poise to anyone who walks through our doors.”

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