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TRACK AND FIELD
Volume 140, Issue 15
April 15, 2015
IN YOUR TOWN
Polk County elected official salaries
compared to surrounding counties
New charter school Dallas Community School
will be offering kindergarten when it opens this
The Dallas School Board, the school’s charter
sponsor, approved an amendment to DCS’ charter
Monday night expanding enrollment from 1-8
grades to K-8. That change will allow DCS to ac-
cept up to 45 more applications from parents inter-
ested in enrolling their kindergarteners in the
school. “I’m going to go tell a bunch of parents
some really good news tonight,” said Wendy
Sparks, a DCS board member.
Note: Figures are monthly salaries and from the 2013-14 fiscal year
FALLS CITY NEWS
Source: Polk County
KATHY HUGGINS /Itemizer-Observer
In this survey from the 2013-14 fiscal year, salaries for elected officials in Polk County trailed other counties by far.
A comparison of salaries
County officials paid less than peers for years
The city of Falls City began its search for a per-
manent city manager just in time to see its tempo-
rary manager leave.
Interim City Manager Jon Hanken submitted his
15-day notice on April 2. His last day will be Friday.
“As you are aware, I have been actively pursuing
full-time positions and have tentatively accepted
another position,” Hanken wrote in his resignation
Hanken, who was hired in October 2014, had
been scheduled to fill the post until June, unless he
found another job. He did in Ione, Calif.
By Jolene Guzman
POLK COUNTY — Each spring, Polk
County Administrator Greg Hansen
puts together a comparison of the
salaries of elected officials in five coun-
ties surrounding Polk.
Hansen does this as part of prepar-
ing the county’s budget. State law re-
quires each county to form a “compen-
sation board” to review elected official
salaries and recommend changes, if
any, each year.
In preparing a recommendation for
the board — which consists of the
three citizen members of the county’s
budget committee — he’s noticed a
pattern. Polk County is falling behind
its neighbors in compensating those
elected to serve.
The Polk County Board of Commis-
sioners, for example, is paid $5,861
each in salary and expense allowances,
totaling about $70,000 per year. That is
more than twice the average salary for a
job in Polk in 2013 of about $32,000, ac-
cording to the Oregon Employment De-
partment. But it’s also about 12 percent
lower than the average amount com-
missioners in Benton, Lincoln, Linn,
Tillamook and Yamhill counties receive.
“We are beginning to lag severely be-
hind,” Hansen said.
He said that is not a reflection on the
work performance of the county’s
elected officials, which in addition to
the three commissioners, includes the
Polk County assessor, clerk, sheriff,
treasurer and district attorney. Hansen
contends that the group is among the
most effective in the state.
Rather, it’s the fiscal reality that has
them making less money than others
in similar posts.
The Polk assessor’s salary in fiscal
year 2013-14 was about 7 percent be-
hind the five-county average. The clerk
and treasurer have fallen about 15 per-
cent behind, while the sheriff’s salary is
nearly 7 percent behind.
The latter would be worse, if not for
state law. Polk County had to adjust Sher-
iff Bob Wolfe’s salary in 2014-15 to comply
with a law that requires the sheriff to be
the highest paid employee in his office.
District Attorney Aaron Felton is paid
by the state. But his colleagues in the
other five counties receive an addition-
al stipend ranging from $1,279 to $1,975
per month. Felton doesn’t receive any
additional money from the county.
See COUNTY, Page 5A
Safety corridor decommissioned
ODOT: Has been considering ending corridor status for two years
By Jolene Guzman
POLK COUNTY — The
Oregon Department of
Transportation (ODOT) has
ended the approximately 18-
mile safety corridor on
Highway 18 through Polk
Citing a reduced number
of crashes in recent years,
ODOT views the step as a
success. However, local offi-
cials are concerned that
without the corridor desig-
nation, accident numbers
will begin to climb again.
Sa f e t y c o r r i d o r s a re
stretches of highway that
have an average crash rate
that is higher than that of
similar roadways in the
state. In order to qualify, the
corridor has to consistently
have a five-year average
crash rate of 110 percent of
the state average.
Those roadways designat-
ed as safety corridors can
JOLENE GUZMAN /Itemizer-Observer
Discussions may lead to a shorter corridor on Highway
22, in part because of accidents near Doaks Ferry Road.
qualify for additional pa-
trols, increased fines on cita-
tions and campaigns to in-
form drivers of the dangers.
Safety projects on these sec-
tions of road are given high-
er priority as well.
Highway 18’s corridor was
on March 31. Tim Potter,
ODOT’s Region 2 Area 3
manager, said the agency
had been looking at pulling
the designation for more
than two years after the
number of crashes declined
below average rates.
“We have managed to re-
duce the crash rates,” Potter
said. “We are encouraged by
Established in 1996, the
corridor has been the sub-
ject of several safety proj-
ects, including improving
access at Spirit Mountain
Casino, rumble strips and
median barrier installation,
and the interchange at Fort
Polk County officials were
notified of the decision two
weeks before the corridor
was decommissioned, Polk
County Commissioner Craig
Pope said he was unhap-
py that the county wasn’t
contacted before the move
“There was no public
process,” Pope said. “That
has been the norm for
ODOT. (But) in order to get a
safety corridor in place,
there has to be a major pub-
See CORRIDOR, Page 5A
Teenagers are at that perfect age: nearly adults,
but still open-minded to new ideas and fresh per-
spectives. That’s one thing Roseanna Larson loves
about teaching them.
“It’s a time of tremendous growth and opportu-
nity to have an impact on kids,” said Larson, 42, lan-
guage arts teacher at Central High School.
Larson was named Secondary Teacher of the
Year by her peers in the Central Education Associa-
Larson is a 1990 graduate of Central High, and
was happy to come back to the community she
By Fourth of July 2016, Monmouth’s Main Street
Park could have its amphitheater ready for summer
concerts, if the council can find a way to pay for it
Mark Fancey, city community development di-
rector, said during the April 7 city council work ses-
sion that if the council decided to pursue grant
funding for the project, it could take until 2017 or
longer to complete.
Parks system development charges (SDCs) can
be used for this project, as well as money from the
urban renewal district (URD), Fancey said.
POLK COUNTY NEWS
Long-time Perrydale teacher Dan Dugan will be
the school’s assistant principal starting next year.
Dugan will be replacing Perrydale High School/
Middle School Principal Shelia McCartney, who
after eight years at the school will retire in June.
She announced her retirement in March.
Dugan said he has worn “a lot of hats,” in his 20
years in the school and community.
Dugan was selected by a hiring committee con-
sisting of members of Perrydale’s staff and adminis-
tration. He said he had a good feeling about his in-
terview with the committee.
It’s Rogue Farms’
open to all ages and
to dogs. Food and
6:30 p.m. Free.
Dallas boys tennis
hosts Lebanon in a
at Dallas High
School. Come watch
the boys volley.
4 p.m. Free.
Fill your tummy at a
spaghetti feed ben-
efiting Relay For Life.
An auction will raise
money for the fight
6-9 p.m. $10.
Celebrate the artists
of the River Gallery
and look at exhibits
from 14 local artists
on display during
5-8 p.m. Free.
Are wedding bells in
your future? Check
out the annual
bridal show at the
1-5 p.m. Free.
Take a stand in sup-
port of crime vic-
tims’ rights, starting
with a ceremony on
the steps of the Polk
12:30 p.m. Free.
Learn about taking
a trip to China with
the M-I Chamber of
Commerce at an in-
at the Indy library.
6-7:30 p.m. Free.