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Lane County commissioners approve salary increases for selves, other elected offices

County commissioners at meeting.
Lane County YouTube channel
Lane County's Board of Commissioners at their Oct. 31, 2023 meeting.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to raise the salary for several key positions, including their own.

The proposed increases were largely based on market comparisons with five other Oregon counties: Clackamas, Marion, Jackson, Washington, and Deschutes.

Members of the Elected Officials Compensation Board explained their analysis before the commission ahead of the vote.

Pay hikes for four elected officials were taken up first and passed unanimously, namely the Lane County Sheriff, Assessor, Justice of the Peace, and District Attorney.

The commissioners were more split on bumps for their own paychecks.

“I understand the, almost the predicament the county is in at this point with us getting further and further behind,” said Commissioner Ryan Ceniga, “But…as what I’m going to call a new commissioner still, at 11 months in, I’m not comfortable with the pay raise.”

Commissioner Heather Buch acknowledged the awkwardness, but added that they would treat themselves the same as any other employee or staff member.

“We do market-rate adjustments for them, almost it seems on a constant basis," she said.

Approved salaries and effective dates for Lane County commissioners, Justice of the Peace, Assessor, Sheriff, and District Attorney.
Approved salaries and effective dates for Lane County commissioners, Justice of the Peace, Assessor, Sheriff, and District Attorney.

Note: District Attorneys in Oregon also receive compensation from the state. According to a staff analysis, the Lane County District Attorney's total current salary is $209,937.

The increase passed 3-2, with commissioners Buch, Laurie Trieger, and Pat Farr in support, and commissioners Ceniga and David Loveall opposing.

The nearly 30% raise brings commissioner salaries to $114,026 per year, but won’t take effect until January 2025. The timing means that technically, Trieger and Farr's vote in support does not affect their own salary, since the increase takes place following the next general election, in which their respective seats will be on the ballot.


Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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