Council, coroner’s office debate per-call rates
An unpleasant discussion between the Pulaski County Council and the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office caused several questions to be asked regarding the coroner’s office budget.
Coroner John Behny and chief deputy Jon Frain asked for some clarification in regards to how the department is being paid compared to what was approved for the 2017 budget at a regular council meeting Monday evening.
Frain said when the budget was set for 2017, he understood that the per-call rate would be $500. Frain said he was paid less than the budgeted amount for the first half of the year, so he was asking for a clarification. Frain is currently being paid $150 per call. He also questioned if both he and Behny receive the per-call rate or just Frain.
The council questioned how the per-call rate worked before and it appears in the past that the deputies responded to the calls and were paid the per-call rate. Behny said the line items of the 2017 budget were mainly based off previous budgets.
Council president Jay Sullivan Jr. questioned if auditor Laura Wheeler knew what was budgeted for the per-call rate. Wheeler said, according to the salary matrix, it is to be $150 per call. Frain said the $500 rate was part of the 2017 budget. Wheeler said she doesn’t know what was discussed when the 2017 budget was created because she was not the auditor at the time.
Councilman Mike Tiede voiced his concern that the change in pay from $150 to $500 was excessive. Tiede made a motion to keep the per-call rate at $150 to finish this year’s budget. His motion received a second and was approved.
Sullivan Jr. said the council needs to look at this for the next year.
Councilwomen Alex Haschel and Linda Powers were absent from the meeting.