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Sullivan County officials set to receive raises of more than 3 percent

April 29th, 2014 11:37 pm by J. H. Osborne

Sullivan County officials set to receive raises of more than 3 percent

BLOUNTVILLE — As Sullivan County officials begin development of a budget for the fiscal year that begins in two months, one thing they'll be looking for is funding for their own pay raises.

The county mayor, most department heads, and all 24 county commissioners have a more than 3 percent raise, funded by taxpayers, coming on July 1.

Their pay hikes will come due to a state law that passes along whatever raise state employees receive in one year to county officeholders the following year.

The state law does not include county commissioners. But the Sullivan County Commission voted several years ago to link commissioners' pay to that of the county mayor — so, whenever the county mayor gets a raise, commissioners will as well.

According to information available from the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) — a taxpayer funded agency operated by the University of Tennessee — County Mayor Steve Godsey and other constitutional officeholders will get a 3.37 percent raise on July 1.

Although the state mandates the raises, it does not provide any funding to implement them. That's left up to the county, including additional funding for benefits, on top of the salaries.

Tennessee law dictates a minimum level of pay for various officeholders, based on county population. It also links the pay to the average annualized general increase in state employees' salaries.

County Mayor Steve Godsey's salary this fiscal year is $105,965 — after multiple increases since he took office in 2006, and up considerably from the $89,235 salary of Godsey's predecessor during his last year in office.

To get to Godsey's raise for the upcoming budget year you have to first calculate the new pay levels for Sheriff Wayne Anderson and Interim Sullivan County Highway Commissioner Bobbie Manning.

How much the county mayor's salary increases depends on how much salaries for those officeholders increase.

State law dictates that county mayors' salaries be at least 5 percent higher than the salary for any other county constitutional officer.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Wednesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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