Bad timing for Sheriff to propose raise

Story by The Spectator Staff

Posted at 7:45 p.m. 2/14/10

While requesting a raise is always an option, Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer’s request for a raise comes at an inopportune time of budget cuts and wage freezes.

The Eau Claire County sheriff claims that his subordinate staff members, through overtime wages, are able to make almost as much money as he is, The Leader-Telegram reports. Cramer makes $337 more each year than his undersheriff, according to the report, but he is not allowed to earn overtime wages, although his undersheriff is.

The fact that many subordinate officers can make nearly as much money as Cramer is a point that should be investigated, but Cramer should be aware that the economic climate today is not conducive to raising anyone’s salary.

Cramer has said he will run for reelection in November regardless of his salary situation, The LT reports. Given this fact, a good leader should lead by example. Cramer’s remarks, saying, “Your leader should make more than the rest of the troops,” are somewhat disparaging in that he’s not setting a good example for the rest of his staff.

If the salary situation were truly an issue for Cramer, he would not be seeking reelection, so his reference to higher salaries in La Crosse and Marathon counties is irrelevant to Eau Claire’s situation. Cramer’s salary for 2010 is $80,711.

It would be appropriate to examine the salary system used for county employees. It would be valuable to learn why some county employees are working so much overtime, and in turn approaching the sheriff’s salary.

Regardless, it’s a poor time for any elected official to be asking for more money, and it’s not reasonable for Cramer to ask for a raise now.

In deliberations, The Spectator staff voted 5-2 in saying it is unreasonable for Cramer to ask for a raise.