Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Elected officials in Missoula County will receive an increase in total compensation this fiscal year, a move that also increases the pay of deputies within the Sheriff’s Department.

Commissioners on Thursday approved the increase, citing the recommendation of the Compensation Board. It results in a roughly 4% increase in compensation for the county’s elected officials, from commissioners to the courts.

“We went through a bunch of information, from what the statute requires, which includes everything from the number of vehicles being registered to property values in the county, to try and look at fair and complete compensation,” said county CAO Chris Lounsbury.

The increase in compensation boosts the county attorney’s total salary to $148,865 while the two Justice of the Peace will see their salary increase to $121,097.

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The Missoula County Sheriff will also see a salary increase to $141,510. State law requires that deputies within the department earn a percent of what the sheriff earns, meaning their pay will also increase.

“Deputy sheriffs receive a percentage of what the sheriff is paid and right now we lag behind the City of Missoula,” Lounsbury said. “Even without their projected 8% increase for law enforcement this year, we lag anywhere from 8% to more than 19% behind in pay for the ranks inside the sheriff’s department.”

attachment-pay county

The uniform base pay will increase to $47.91 starting the first full pay period of the new fiscal year, according to the county.

“I’m glad we were able to raise deputy pay,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “Hopefully we won’t have our great, talented deputy sheriff’s leave our department for the police department.”

Commissioners also will see an increase in pay, based in part on their longevity. Commissioner Dave Strohmaier – the most tenured member of the commission – will receive a total salary of $196,632 while Slotnick will earn $108,625. Commissioner Juanita Vero will earn $106,632.

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The Missoula Current is a Montana owned and operated news organization founded in 2015 to help fill the void in local journalism, and we've been free to read ever since. If you would like to read the original article, click here.

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