WILLMAR -- The 2011 salary for the Kandiyohi County Commissioners will be the same as it's been for the last three years.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the board agreed to keep its annual salary at $28,140. The $70 per diem the commissioners receive when they attend county-related meetings is also at the 2008 level.
The commissioners' salary freeze is in line with the county's non-union empl-oyees and employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who have agreed to a freeze on their salaries and steps for 2011.
On a 6-1 vote, the commissioners also set the salary for the new county attorney, Jenna Fischer, at $107,013.
Board Chairman Richard Falk voted against the motion. He said Fischer's salary should have been set at a higher level.
Boyd Beccue, who has served as the county attorney for 20 years before being defeated by Fischer in the November election, was at the top of the county's step schedule, making $125,405 a year.
Steps in a salary schedule typically reflect experience and education.
County Administrator Larry Kleindl said under state law, the county must pay the county attorney more than the current rate of the highest-paid assistant county attorney.
That meant the lowest level Fischer's salary could have been set at was number seven on the step scale, which would have been $99,031.
Based on Fischer's past experience, including five years working in the county attorney's office under Beccue, Kleindl recommended that the commissioners set her salary at either step nine or step 10.
A step 10 salary would have been $111,397 a year.
Commissioner Harlan Madsen asked if they had to choose between the two steps, or if there was a "midpoint" that could be selected.
Kleindl said about six years ago the commissioners agreed to put statutory officers on a step schedule. Setting a different salary range would require rewriting the step schedule, he said.
Falk said the $107,013 salary was too low and asked the other commissioners to reconsider. He supported the next level up on the step schedule.
Commissioners Madsen, Richard Larson, Dean Shuck and Dennis Peterson voted in favor of the step 9 salary. Falk voted no.