Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) With a new fiscal year close at hand, Missoula County on Thursday appointed a new compensation board to review the pay of the county's elected officials.

State law requires that each county have a compensation board and requires them to meet annually.

“It has to contain the three commissioners and the county attorney,” said county CAO Chris Lounsbury. “Three other elected officials chosen by the commission will also serve, and up to four citizen representatives.”

The county's elected officials didn't accept a pay raise in 2020, saying the impacts of the pandemic and a bleak outlook for tax revenue prompted a more conservative approach.

But in 2021, the compensation board recommended and the county adopted an increase for 11 elected positions. Last year, it also implemented a roughly 4% increase in compensation for elected officials.

That boosted the total salary of the Missoula County Attorney to $148,000 and the county sheriff to $141,000. The three county commissioners each earn around $107,000 while the Clerk of District Court earns $122,000.

This year, aside from the commissioners and County Attorney Matt Jennings, the compensation board will include County Auditor Dave Wall, Clerk of District Court Amy McGee, and County Superintendent of Schools Erin Lipkin.

All are elected officials. Lounsbury said the citizen representatives also include Steve Johnson and Karen Harrison. The board will meet this spring.

“We have two meetings, one set in April and one in May,” said Lounsbury.