County fire board creates panel to review salaries, supports half-cent sales tax

Monday, October 22, 2007 | 8:59 p.m. CDT; updated 9:05 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Boone County Fire Protection District’s governing board created a five-person committee to review administrators’ salaries and formally supported a county road tax initiative on November’s ballot at its meeting Monday night.

Amid scrutiny over some administrators’ six-figure salaries, board member Shelly Dometrorch made a pay decrease the centerpiece of her campaign last April for a seat on the Fire Protection District’s three-person board. She said the citizens’ salary review committee would consist of herself and four other citizens.

“It will help determine where salary ranges for the fire district should be,” Dometrorch said. “We will come up with a proposal for base salaries for each position.”

The other committee members are:

• Randall Mueller, medical director of the emergency department at Boone Hospital Center.

• Herb Stanley, who works with University Physicians and is a former battalion chief with the fire district.

• Ron Skiles, who works for MFA Inc.

• Michelle Zvanut, the human resources director at Boone Hospital Center.

Jay Niemeyer, a volunteer firefighter with the fire district, said that he was disappointed the list didn’t include a volunteer firefighter.

“We definitely have a number of qualified members,” Niemeyer said. “Maybe we should have a voice.”

Dometrorch said that it’s inappropriate for employees to be involved in determining the salaries for their superiors.

Because there are about 15 positions to review, Dometrorch said she expects the proposal to be finished by the end of the year.

The board also supported the November ballot proposal to continue a half-cent county sales tax that would fund road projects.

“Without adequate transportation networks, we can’t do our jobs,” Fire Chief Steve Paulsell said.

Board member Dave Griggs, a former county commissioner and a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said if the initiative fails, several critical services would falter.

“When the big snowstorm comes, we’re not going to have snow plows or people to work overtime,” he said.

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