Thursday, August 31, 2000
Routt County The Routt County commissioners have approved a $5,000 raise that's retroactive to Jan. 1 for the county's assistant attorney, Jonathan Krauss, because, they said, it's good to keep good people around.
Attorneys have an opportunity to make a pretty penny in private firms, compared to being a public servant, Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
"We have a real potential to lose some people," she said.
Especially in county law, where an attorney can build experience and knowledge about that area of practice and then move on to greener pastures.
Ideally, the county wants to avoid taking the time to train someone for such a technical position as Krauss', and then lose that person to a private firm after all the training has been done.
That doesn't look like it will be the case with Krauss, who has worked for Routt County for five years and before that was the assistant attorney and then head attorney in San Miguel County, Routt County Attorney John Merrill said.
"He came to us with a fair amount of experience," Merrill said.
With the raise, Krauss now makes $60,000, which is well-deserved for someone of his skill, he added.
"I feel very strongly that you if have a good person, you have to keep them," Merrill said.
He said the consequence of not doing so is paying two people with less knowledge. Each would have a smaller salary, but combined, the county would be paying more.
The raise was retroactive to January because that's when he was scheduled for the pay hike.
Also, Merrill approached the board about the raise in the middle of last year's budget process, when the commissioners had their hands full.
"We wanted to take time to look at the information," Stahoviak said.
Merrill had to supply the board with ample information and the commissioners had to take the time to review it before the raise was approved.
"It was a decision that we didn't make lightly," Stahoviak said.
Beyond Krauss' specific case, the board changed how it's going to set the attorneys' salaries. The county will take them out of regular county pay scale and will set their salaries closer to "market" value. While the county can't match private sector salaries, the board believes salaries should be more commensurate with the attorneys' legal expertise.
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