Elected Becker County department heads get 3% pay hike

Commissioners give themselves a small raise, but higher stipends.

Becker County Board of Commissioners. Feb. 16, 2021. From left to right: Richard Vareberg, Barry Nelson, John Okeson, Ben Grimsley, Larry Knutson. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

Next year’s salaries for elected officials in Becker County have been set by the County Board, and elected positions received a 3% increase:

  • Auditor-Treasurer Mary Hendrickson will make $94,857 next year.

  • Sheriff Todd Glander will make $117,520.

  • County Attorney Brian McDonald will make $122,726.

County commissioners will receive a base salary of $26,105 next year, up from $25,910 this year. The salary increase last year was 1%.
The board chair position, which traditionally rotates every year, involves additional duties and will receive an extra $200 a month, up from the traditional $100 a month.

New this year, the vice chair position, which also rotates and also involves extra work, will receive an additional $100 a month.

Commissioners will receive lump sum per diem payments for qualifying meetings they attend (other than County Board meetings) of $70 per meeting (up from $61 this year) which increases to $90 for meetings that last longer than four hours (up from $87).

“We have been very conservative (on commissioner pay) the last 18 years,” said Board Chairman Barry Nelson. “Many years we’ve had zero increase.”


It’s good pay for a part-time job, but being a county commissioner is often a full-time job, he said. Luckily, “none of us went into it to make money,” Nelson added.

The county recorder position paid $76,564 per year, but that position will now be appointed by the County Board, rather than elected, and the new salary has not yet been set.

Deputy Recorder Karen Wenner has been running the department since the Oct. 17 death of County Recorder Patty Swenson, and commissioners approved a pay increase for Wenner to $35 an hour, retroactive to Oct. 17.

Wenner, who has worked in the Becker County Recorder’s Office for 31 years, said she plans to retire in February.

The County Board last week also approved a $10,900 pay increase for the deputy auditor-treasurer, who has been doing the job for seven years under the wrong classification in the county’s band and grade system. The vote was 4-1 to approve the pay increase, with Commissioner Larry Knutson voting in opposition.

The board also authorized the County Assessor’s Office to create a chief deputy position, since there are now 14 assessment districts, up from five in 2019, as more townships turn assessment responsibilities over to the county. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Ben Grimsley voting no, because he said the request came only after the employee that was in line for the promotion quit the office.

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