News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 11, 2014

Vigo Council denies coroner’s request for salary increase

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Council on Tuesday denied a request from Coroner Dr. Susan Amos to increase her county salary for 2014.

County Council Attorney Robert Effner said state law does not allow a salary of an elected official to be changed in the year an increase is requested.

“I don’t want to have to pursue legal action to resolve the unfair discrepancy we have with salaries,” Amos said. The coroner later stated said she “will probably definitely pursue legal action.”

The County Council last year established a lower base salary for coroner than previous coroner Dr. Roland Kohr, a pathologist. The council added to that base salary, as required by state law, as Amos is a physician. The council stated the higher base salary was set for Kohr as he did not charge the county for performing autopsies.

Amos told the council she uses Kohr for autopsies as he gives the county a discounted rate.

“I am not required to have to use [Kohr] because he is in-county, but [if Kohr’s services were not used] that would include extra transportation costs and higher autopsy fees,” Amos said.

Amos, whose 2014 salary is $33,023, sought the same salary as other elected officials such as the county treasurer, clerk, auditor and recorder, each which have a 2014 salary of $49,534. Amos made the same salary as those other elected officials when she served as coroner from 2000 to 2004.

Based on Effner’s statement on state law, the council voted 6-0 to deny the salary increase. Councilman Tim Curley was absent.

After the meeting, County Auditor Tim Seprodi said a higher salary for the coroner was not requested in the department’s 2014 budget. “You put in the higher salary request and have the council review that, not put in the same salary then hope to discuss something higher,” Seprodi said.

In other business, the council approved an amended 2014 salary ordinance to include temporary sheriff deputies. A temporary deputy is to be compensated at 90 percent of the base rate of a merit deputy.

The amended ordinance also states that a temporary deputy shall not work more than 29 hours in a pay week and is not entitled to any benefits.

The county’s 2014 amended ordinance includes previously approved salaries for deputies. Vigo County has 37 merit deputies whose 2014 salary is $41,944. A jail matron is set at the same salary. The chief deputy’s 2014 salary is $54,478.

There are six deputies with the rank of lieutenant, each which receive an additional $3,393; four first sergeants receive an additional $1,697; four sergeants receive an additional $375; 10 detectives receive an additional $1,500; and one K-9 deputy receives an additional $566 for 2014.

Deputies with four years of service earn an additional $275 for longevity pay in 2014. That pay increases for each year of service to a maximum of $4,400 annually. Deputies and the matron also receive $1,650 per year in clothing allowance. Non-merit deputies who average 16 hours per month receive $1,250 per year in clothing allowance for 2014.



Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.