One would get a raise over the next four years and other wouldn't.  One makes about 50% more than what similar positions pay in Wisconsin. Douglas County leaders are reviewing the salaries paid to two of their elected positions - recommending an annual, tiered raise for one while suggesting that the budget line be held on the other.

Current annual salary for the Clerk of Courts is $67,008 and the current annual salary for the Douglas County Sheriff is set at $90,361.

Salary surveys for each position were conducted across the state.

Of note - according to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall] is the fact the the current salary for Douglas County Sheriff is higher than what the same position commands across the state.  A lot higher.  The average sheriff in Wisconsin earns $62,00 per year - almost $30,000 less than what Douglas County is paying.

Douglas County, WI courthouse and government services building
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

After discussion, the recommendation moving forward was for a "2% annual raise over the next four years" for the Clerk of Courts. Meanwhile, the Administration Committee is recommending that the "next sheriff won't see a pay increase for the entire four year term in office".

Two Douglas County officials weighed in with their thoughts on the matter. Supervisor Nick Baker offered that the job duties for each of the two different positions (Clerk of Courts and Sheriff) differ in their degree of effort and that the salaries should more-align themselves with that:

"I don't know what others feelings are, but it bothers me.  The Clerk of Courts, they have a process to go through.  They have a job to do.  Basically, the Sheriff has to take an oath of office and return the keys to us when he's done".

Baker continued that "it doesn't make sense to pay someone $97,000 a year (what the salary would be with a built in rate increase) when (all) they have to do is show up or submit reports to the county".

At the same time, Board Chairman Mark Liebaert offered that "as someone who has run for sheriff in the past", he "would be happy with the sheriff's salary as it is".

Part of the review for what sheriff's in Wisconsin earn per year included taking a look at the 10-county region.  According to Douglas County Supervisor Sam Pomush - who also simultaneously serves on the Northwest Regional Planning Commission:  "Other counties aren't paying their sheriff $90,000 a year".

Douglas County, WI government office building
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

With a unanimous vote, the Administration Committee moved to recommend the motion to increase the salary for the Clerk of Courts and hold steady on the salary for the Douglas County Sheriff.  "If [final approval happens], the Clerk of Courts would [end up earning] $72,532 at the end of the [four year] term...while the sheriff's salary would remain at $90,361 for four years".

With the passage of the motion, the proposal advances to the full Douglas County Board for a vote at their meeting on March 17.

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