Your dollars, their pay

Published 11:30 am Sunday, March 17, 2013

What are local public servants receiving for their annual salaries?

Editor’s note: This story comes as a direct result of a reader suggestion. We welcome your ideas anytime.

According to information from Freeborn County administration, the salaries of the county’s elected officials are lower or about average when compared to the same officials in neighboring counties.

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While Freeborn County’s attorney makes $95,128 a year, the attorneys in Fillmore and Houston make less, at $87,035 and $86,000, respectively.

The attorney in Mower makes $98,103, the attorney in Rice $107,983, and the attorney in Winona $108,610.

Freeborn County’s recorder, who makes $56,610, receives less than the recorders in Rice, Wabasha, Winona, Dodge and Houston, but more than the recorders in Fillmore and Mower counties, where the recorder makes $56,200 and $53,954, respectively.

The sheriff’s salary is the lowest of neighboring communities. While the sheriff makes $78,000 in Freeborn County, the sheriff in Mower County is paid $92,508, the sheriff in Rice County makes $99,000 and the sheriff in Steele County makes $87,442. Olmsted County’s sheriff makes $134,757.

The auditor-treasurer makes less than all of the surrounding counties — though she was just recently hired.

New Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer Pat Martinson makes $62,500, while the auditor-treasurer salaries in other counties vary; in Mower County the auditor-treasurer makes $68,181, while the position in Rice is paid $106,354.

In Freeborn County, commissioners receive $22,674 a year, which is the same amount they received in 2012.

The wage appears to be in the middle of the pack when compared to salaries of commissioners of neighboring cities.

On the low end are Dodge County and Wabasha County commissioners, who receive $18,400 and $17,324, respectively.

On the high end are Olmsted County commissioners, who receive $34,694.

Mower County commissioners make $24,200, and Rice County commissioners make $28,504.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said Freeborn County is one of the few counties in the whole state that does not pay its county commissioners a per diem rate in addition to a yearly salary.


City employees

In the city of Albert Lea, City Manager Chad Adams’ salary of $113,163 is about average when compared to cities of similar size.

The city administrator in Austin makes $109,179, the administrator in Owatonna makes $103,468 and the administrator in Faribault makes $115,000, according to a chart provided by

In 2012, the Northfield administrator made $117,693, and the New Ulm administrator made $114,961. Their salaries for 2013 were unavailable.



Dan Dorman, executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, said economic development entities are funded differently across the area, so it is difficult to compare budgets and salaries for his agency.

He said 100 percent of the budget of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency is paid by the Albert Lea Port Authority.

The Port Authority relies on rental income and land sales to meet its budget, and does not rely on the city or county for funding. It also does not have a property tax levy, even though it is allowed by state statute to authorize.

Dorman said in many other cities and counties there is a private nonprofit economic development agency that receives income from the city, county or both to pay bills. He said in Austin there is the Development Corp. of Austin, which receives at least $40,000 in funding from the city.

In Blue Earth County, the county, city of Blue Earth and others use the Faribault County Development Corp. Last year, both the city and county contributed $40,000.

Dorman said he is surprised by the people who think he and his staff require a subsidy from the city and county.

“We provide economic development services for all of Freeborn County at no cost to the county or cities and thus no cost to the taxpayers,” he said.

He said in the 5 1/2 years he has been executive director, he and his staff have brought in about $1.5 million in grants.