Supervisors say no to bonusesBrock said bonuses were for pursuit of delinquent state fines
The Washington County Board of Supervisors turned down county attorney Larry Brock’s request for $5,000 bonuses for each member of his staff — assistant county attorney Shawn Showers, Alicia Pacha and Patricia Sinn. The supervisors did so during their weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
Brock said that his staff has aggressively pursued county residents who have not paid fines or fees they owe the State of Iowa. Iowa Code allows county attorneys’ offices to retain a percentage of the delinquent court debt, he said, and he explained that process in detail. Brock told the supervisors that during his three years as county attorney, the county’s general fund received approximately $175,000 due to his staff’s work on collecting the court debt. During the same time, his office has retained approximately $35,000.
According to Iowa Code, Brock said that the county attorney has the authority to set the assistant county attorney’s salary. He said the supervisors do not have that same authority. However, he said, the supervisors have the authority to determine salary and wages for other county employees.
Of all the county departments, Brock said the assistant county attorney’s salary is the lowest of all comparable assistants. Showers earns 55 percent of the county attorney’s salary. The assistant county attorney could be paid as much as 85 percent of the county attorney’s salary, Brock said.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said the county does not have policies on bonuses.
Supervisor Steve Davis said that he has talked to two supervisors from other counties who told him they don’t even want to go there.
Board chairman Ron Bennett asked Brock why he wants the bonuses for employees for doing their jobs. He also wondered if the staff uses “free time” to work on collections.
“There’s no free time in my office,” Brock said.
Bennett also said that some county departments do not bring in revenue to the county and would not have the same opportunity for bonuses.
Brock said that his office has a “unique situation” in that the state code allows this type of program.
Supervisor Stan Stoops said allowing bonuses for county employees could “open the door for corruption.”
The supervisors were unanimous in their decision to deny bonuses for Showers, Pacha and Sinn.
In other business, the supervisors took no formal action regarding alternatives and amendments to the proposed draft ordinance to rescind zoning as presented on June 25.
See Wednesday’s Washington Evening Journal for more about the supervisors’ meeting.