by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
No longer will the Morrison County Commissioners be accepting per diem payments for attendance at meetings.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board approved a change from a salary plus per diem method of compensation to straight salary.
Instead of a salary of $21,328 and an average annual per diem total of $8,800, which together add up to $30,128, the commissioners will now receive a straight salary of $30,014.40 per year, regardless of the number of meetings they attend.
Per diems paid by other entities such as South County Health Alliance will be credited to the county to offset the commissioner salary budget instead of being paid to the commissioners.
Expense reimbursement will remain the same. Various expenses eligible for reimbursement include mileage, meals, registrations and hotel costs relating to county business. Some of the factors that impact expense reimbursement levels among different commissioners include, how far a commissioner lives from Little Falls, the frequency and location of various committee meetings they attend, issues arising in a particular district or the level of constituent involvement.
In addition to a salary, the county also pays for insurance, as the commissioners are covered under the Morrison County employee cafeteria insurance plan — which includes health, life and disability insurance. The added benefits range from just less than $10,000 to slightly more than $12,000, depending on the insurance choices each commissioner has elected.
Commissioner compensation for 2011, the last full year for which figures are available, ranges from $41,230.56 for Commissioner Rich Collins to $47,624.07 for Commissioner Don Meyer. Meyer is also paid a longevity bonus of $426.40 per year, having been on the board for more than 20 years.
The total compensation for all five commissioners together in 2011, was $219,859.47 in salaries, benefits, per diems, travel, meals and lodging.
“When the Board meets in January 2013, with new members Kevin Maurer, Jeff Jelinski and Randy Winscher, it will be their responsibility to ensure that committee assignments are spread as evenly as possible to all board members,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber.