Half of county’s elected officials return their pay
Half of Mesa County’s elected officials say they chose to join roughly 1,000 other furloughed county employees and give back two days’ worth of pay, even though it wasn’t required.
Confronted by plummeting sales-tax revenue, county officials last fall required employees to take off Columbus Day and Christmas Eve without pay, estimating it would save more than $440,000.
Elected officials weren’t subject to the two furlough days because their salaries are set by state law, not the county. Nevertheless, five of 10 elected officials told The Daily Sentinel they returned to the county coffers two days’ worth of pay, saying it was the right thing to do, even though it saved the county a matter of just a few thousand dollars. Here’s how each of the 10 said they handled the issue: ASSESSOR BARB BREWER
Brewer said she didn’t return her pay to the county, choosing instead to increase her “charitable contributions to cover that.”
CLERK AND RECORDER JANICE RICH
Rich said she wrote a check to the county. “To be fair to my staff, I think it was just the right thing to do,” she said.
COMMISSIONER STEVE ACQUAFRESCA
Acquafresca said he wrote a check to the county. “Given that I had (the two days) off, I thought it only fair that I forgo compensation, and I don’t regret that.”
Meis said he didn’t return his pay to the county.
Rowland said she wrote a check to the county. “Certainly two days of my paycheck isn’t going to make or break the county budget, but it shows employees I’m willing to take the hit we’re requiring them to,” she said.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY PETE HAUTZINGER
Hautzinger said he took off the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and asked his office administrator to see to it that he didn’t get paid for those days.
Havlik said he wrote a check to the county. (no photo).
SHERIFF STAN HILKEY
Hilkey said he asked county finance officials to remove two days’ worth of pay from his paycheck but was told they couldn’t do that. “Once I found out that finance wouldn’t take it out, I didn’t do anything else with it” and kept the money, Hilkey said.
County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said Stiles worked on Columbus Day but not on Christmas Eve.
Todd said she didn’t give back the money to the county. “I gave it to my favorite charity,” she said.