When winners of Tuesday’s city and county elections take their seats next year, magistrates will receive larger regular paychecks than their peers on the Frankfort City Commission.
That discovery comes in response to a reader question about compensation for the two positions. The annual salary for magistrates is $26,200.56, said Franklin County Human Resources Director Betty Jo Readnower. Meanwhile, the annual salary for city commissioners is $16,940.82, or $651.57 biweekly, said Frankfort Human Resources Director Kathy Fields.
The salary amounts for magistrates and city commissioners do not vary based on the number of meetings or amount of work.
Members of both elected bodies are also eligible to receive health insurance and retirement benefits.
Fields said city commissioners are eligible for the same benefits full-time city of Frankfort employees receive, including health insurance.
The health insurance premium cost to the employee depends upon the plan selected, whether the person is a tobacco user and whether the person has completed an annual physical.
City commissioners may also participate in the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) pension plan if they wish to do so, she said. Though, an employee who is already receiving a pension from the Kentucky Retirement Systems cannot start a second pension, she said.
Meanwhile, Readnower said, magistrates’ eligibility for retirement and health benefits is determined by whether he or she chooses to be a full- or part-time employee. Magistrates receive a form at the beginning of January that provides the option. A magistrate is only eligible to receive health insurance and retirement benefits through CERS if he or she selects the full-time employee option.
Readnower said that county government only foots 100 percent of health insurance premiums for someone who selects single coverage.
Magistrates can also use a maximum of $4,000 per fiscal year for training purposes, she said.
The reader’s question also asked about pay for Franklin County’s property valuation administrator.
Tom Gatewood, Franklin County’s incumbent PVA, has a yearly salary of $97,222.32, according to Kentucky’s state employee salary database. Though PVAs are elected locally, they are paid by the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
According to state statute, the salary of a PVA is based on the population of the county served as well as years of experience.
Each year on Jan. 1, PVAs move up one step, in turn receiving a larger paycheck, until reaching the fourth and final step, according to state statute. And, if the county’s population increases, it’s possible for a county’s PVA to receive a raise, as PVAs in larger counties receive larger salaries, according to state statute.
PVA salaries also increase in conjunction with the annual consumer price index published by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
For example, the state statute for PVA compensation says the starting salary is $61,891 for the population group in which Franklin County sits — 45,000 to 59,999 people. However, a 2016 state personnel manual for PVAs sets the starting compensation for the same group at $89,309. The departments of finance, revenue and local government were unable to provide updated numbers for PVA compensation before press time Thursday.