LAYTON -- The single biggest issue in the race for Davis County Commission appears to center around a six-figure salary: The annual salary of current Commissioner John Petroff Jr.
Republican challenger Terry Spencer is taking issue with the $119,518.61 salary, not including benefits, that Petroff is to receive in 2012.
That salary figure is according to the Davis County personnel office.
In comparison, Weber County Commissioners will receive $102,377.60 salary, not including benefits, in 2012, according to county officials.
But Petroff defends the figure, claiming he works hard to earn it.
"To put it mildly, these salary and benefits packages are obscene, during a time when the incomes of many Davis County residents have been reduced, and taxes have increased," Spencer said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
"In my opinion, a seat on the Davis County Commission is and should be a 'part-time' public service, with salaries and benefits reflecting this reality," said Spencer, a former state senator and a Syracuse attorney.
Spencer, along with Mark D. Jacobs, a former collegiate instructor from Bountiful, are challenging Petroff on the Republican ticket for the four-year commission seat.
Petroff, seeking his second four-year term on the commission, admits he is receiving a good salary.
However, the former West Point mayor says the job of commissioner, in addition to having him work during the days, requires that he attend six night meetings monthly, and represent the county on 15 different boards.
For that reason, Petroff said, the job of commissioner cannot be done on a part-time basis.
"(The job) requires me to work my butt off, and I do it," Petroff said.
Changing the three commission positions to part-time status would save about $150,000 to $200,000 a year on the county's $100 million budget, Petroff said. But administration costs, in having staff perform some of the duties commissioners currently assume, would increase, costing taxpayers more.
Petroff said reducing the elected commission positions to part-time would be similar to Salt Lake County's decision to go with a part-time county council. He said that ended up costing taxpayers in that county more money as a result of having to pay both the council members' part-time salary, and the salaries of the full-time administrative support staff.
Petroff said his W-2 form for 2011 indicates he received a $115,000 salary. The $4,000 increase he received from this year to last year is because of how the pay periods fell in going from calendar year 2011 to 2012.
Davis Commissioners Louenda Downs and Bret Milburn receive the same salary as Petroff.
The Davis County Republican Party convention is to be held at 7 p.m. April 13, at Wood Cross High.