EDITOR’S NOTE: The salary and benefis totals for the City of Liberal Commissioners will be reported in Friday’s Leader & Times for comparison.
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
In Seward County, county commissioners receive a salary and some benefits. A few board members have chosen to take advantage of all of those benefits, while others choose to take only some.
Salaries for each of the five commissioners is $570 per pay period. The county has 26 pay periods in a fiscal year, giving each board member just less than $15,000 annually, with the county spending nearly $75,000 to pay them.
According to documents obtained from the Seward County Administrator’s office, all five commissioners are under the county’s life insurance plan, to which the county pays $13.50 per month for four of the commissioners. Chairman Jim Rice has opted for a plan which costs $8.78 per month. That brings the total price tag for the county’s life insurance plan for commissioners to a little more than $750. The policies pay $50,000 for elected officials and $100,000 for accidental death. The cost of the policy is reduced for employees older than 65.
Cell phones are another benefit county commissioners are offered, but only two, Rice and Randy Malin, are taking advantage of that item. The taxable benefit for a county cell phone adds $2.50 per pay period to a commissioner’s gross income, and the additional pay is subject to withholding tax. After tax calculations, the additional pay is decreased from their gross wages. Annually, for Rice and Malin, the county’s cell phone plan runs $130.
The county likewise offers two health insurance plans, one for family and one for individuals. Rice and Malin are currently on the family plans, to which the county pays a little more than $1,200 per month. The commissioners pay in $140 a month for that plan. Commissioner C.J. Wettstein takes the single plan, which costs him nothing, as the county pays the policy in full at a cost of just more than $650 a month. With those three commissioners on board, the county currently spends more than $37,000 a year on health insurance for the board.
Part of commissioners’ paychecks are also given to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Four of the five board members now have withdrawals of about $38 per pay period taken for that item, with Rice opting not to go with KPERS. The county pays just less than $4,000 annually for this item. KPERS is calculated at a bi-weekly rate. The county portion is 6.74 percent of the commissioners gross salary per pay period, and employees have a life insurance policy equal to 150 percent of their annual salary with this contribution.
Finally, all five commissioners are on the county’s Social Security and Medicare plan, with an approximately $43 deducted per pay period. The county pays about $5,600 for those items.
Elected officials receive no accrued paid time off, the county equivalent to vacation and sick pay.
The total annual price tag for salaries and benefits for county commissioners is just less than $125,000.