March 3, 2020
Should Jackson County’s employees get paid more without decreasing the Administrator’s and Commissioners’ compensation? This question was explored by filing a Public Records Request in early February 2020 to examine the compensation of Jackson County elected officials.
Five Oregon counties are used by the County Budget Committee (half of which is comprised of the three commissioners) to arrive at a “mean” (or average) to determine how much compensation is deemed to be ‘fair’ when compared to those five, hand-selected counties: Clackamas, Deschutes, Lane, Linn, and Marion.
Each county’s ‘seat’ was then researched to determine a cost-of-living (COL) comparison with Medford, the seat of Jackson County. Normalization was then performed to get Medford’s COL index down to a value of 1.00 by dividing itself and the other five counties’ COL indices by Medford’s 100.6, so that the other five county seats’ COL index would be commensurately reduced, just to be fair.
Salaries of each of the five ‘other’ counties were then reduced based on their normalized COL factors to produce the five values needed to arrive at the ‘mean’ so Jackson County salaries could be equitably determined.
The Green line in each chart below represents the ‘raw’ 5-county mean and the Brown line represents the ‘normalized’ 5-county mean (again, based on the ‘normalized’ COL Index of each of the five selected counties).
So the Blue line shows where Jackson County’s salary levels actually are for each elected-official category with a few values being approximate due to the County’s ‘step system’ based on individual seniority and/or merit.
You can zoom in by clicking on the graph(s) below, then you can Page Back (Alt-Left Arrow) to return to this page.
Let’s get started with the District Attorney salary comparison:
You can see that the D.A.’s salary structure hovers slightly above the normalized mean (the Brown line where it should be) and does a great job tracking its target on a year-to-year basis.
Next is the County Clerk’s salary structure, which exceeded the raw mean in 2013 and pretty much remained there ever since:
Next is the County Assessor’s salary structure, which appears to do its best to correct itself inside the channel below the raw mean and slightly above the normalized mean from 2011 onward:
Now let’s look at the County Sheriff position, which reflects some odd ‘behaviors’ from 2015 onward, right around when Corey Falls held the office. You can see it slowly creeping back to where it should’ve been based on the 5-county comparison system, but it’s still not quite there yet:
Finally, there should be no surprise when viewing the over-inflated salary structure of the County Commissioner position (again, the Blue JaxCo line has some variance based on individual seniority and/or merit):
Is the ‘generosity factor’ issued by the Budget Committee to the three Commissioners, who sit on the Budget Committee, overly obvious?
Again, the goal was (or should’ve been) for each elected-official category to align with the mean of the five, hand-selected counties – either raw or ‘normalized’ based on each county’s cost-of-living index.
So is it any wonder why the SEIU employees are crying foul? They apparently wish to receive the same ‘fairness’ treatment as the current salary-system produces for elected officials to keep up with “the cost of living.”
So, here’s an idea based on the data: Reduce the Commissioner category salary by the 11-year over-payment average of 28.8%, immediately! The numbers do not lie, so why not exercise the power vested in the Budget Committee to make these kinds of adjustments asap? What has been keeping the Commissioner salary structure to grossly inflated all these years? Jackson County taxpayers wish to know and demand an answer!
9/17/2014: Jordan Cove LNG/FERC Project update (70:23 min)
9/18/2014: League of Women Voters forum of Jackson County Commissioner Candidates (78:58 min)
9/19/2014: Rogue River Valley University Club forum of Jackson County Commissioner Candidates (47:44 min)