Miami County Board of Election directors pay greatly increased since 2018

TROY – The Miami County Board of Elections has made a concerted effort to increase pay for elections staff the past few years in hopes of retaining good personnel.

“We try to keep our best and brightest,” said Dave Fisher, chairman of the board of elections.

The board Dec. 22 approved giving staff a 4 percent increase the county commissioners placed in each department’s salary budget as part of 2022 county appropriations. That increase followed a 7.5 percent increase approved by the board in November. In 2021, the board also approved 7.5 percent increases accompanied by the 3 percent the commissioners put in salary budgets for the year.

With recent years’ pay increases, the salaries of the election director and deputy director increased from $48,672 in early 2018 to $70,589 for 2022. The director and deputy director are paid the same amount.

“The Board of Elections has been a revolving door for a lot of reasons, but a lot of it is pay,” Fisher said.

Elections Director Laura Bruns has been with the office since May 2019 while Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway was hired in late October 2018. Bruns worked at the Mercer County Board of Elections before coming to Miami County.

The director/deputy director pay changes have been as follows:

- 2018: Former director pay rate was $48,672 on Feb. 1; when deputy director Ridgeway hired in October 2018, it was at same rate.

- 2019: Salary for new Director Bruns set at $51,500 and Ridgeway’s set at the same on Bruns’ hiring May 2019

- 2020 : Salaries set at $57,023

- 2021: Salaries at $63,139

- 2022: Salaries at $70,589

Fisher said the board considered retaining employees and making pay comparable to other like-size counties in the state. Miami County has 75,470 registered voters so comparisons were made with the 10 counties closest in size (five above and five below), Bruns said. Those closest in size to Miami County had director/deputy director pay in 2021 ranging from $55,000 to more than $74,000.

“We have a good staff, we really do. We want to keep them together as much as we can,” Fisher said.

The votes on pay have been unanimous among the four board members.

In addition to the director and deputy director the elections office has two part-time clerks and two full-time election administrators who are paid hourly.

“Now, we can say, ‘OK you are playing in the same sand box as the other like-size counties as far as pay,’” Fisher said. “Do I see us giving them another 7.5 percent next year? I really don’t.”

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