Delaware County's chief executive last week was granted a roughly 4.9 percent salary increase despite offering to turn it down.

Delaware County's chief executive last week was granted a roughly 4.9 percent salary increase despite offering to turn it down.

The Delaware County commissioners last Monday granted a 4.868-percent pay raise to county administrator Dave Cannon, retroactive to Jan. 1.

The move will increase Cannon's pay from $103,311 in 2007, to $108,340 this year.

In approving the raise, the commissioners said Cannon provides valuable leadership, and government management and budgeting expertise. They ignored calls from Cannon three days later to rescind the increase.

"I don't want to accept it when too many people have raised questions," Cannon said during the commissioners' Thursday meeting. "It appears I'm receiving something we told other people they can't (receive)."

The commissioners rewarded Cannon for work done in 2007. They said the extra money was provided in the budget at the outset of the year, but wasn't extended in January -- when funding for 4-percent increases was granted to all county departments -- because of an oversight.

The pay raise also comes as the county prepares its 2009 budget in the face of a projected $5.5-million budget shortfall this year, and following the issuance of an Oct. 12 "inter-office communication," in which Cannon stated no funding for salary increases would be provided in 2009.

"We would like to remind all the offices that any remaining 2008 salary appropriations are not to be used for pay increases or bonuses at the end of the year," Cannon stated in the Oct. 12 letter. "If we notice any pay adjustments given prior to the end of the year, we will decrease the 2009 salary appropriations.

"It is not fair that one department gives pay increase(s) or bonuses because they have money left in their account. We are trying to treat all offices and departments fair and equitable."

No county commissioners moved to rescind Cannon's raise on Thursday following his request to repeal it. They said it was owed to him at the beginning of the year but fell through the cracks as other county business was addressed.

"We dealt with it but we didn't enact it at the beginning of the year," said commissioner Jim Ward. "That was our mistake.

"I'm not in favor of reviewing it at all, personally. That's the way it is and the way it's going to stay as far as I'm concerned."

Commissioner Glenn Evans said the provision of Cannon's raise at the beginning of this year was "inadvertently overlooked," despite the fact the move was included in the 2008 budget.

Commissioner Kris Jordan on Thursday said Cannon, who received a 4.5-percent raise in 2007, might not receive an increase next year. In approving the increase last Monday, Jordan said of Cannon, "You're going to have one of the toughest budgets that you've seen since being here. You do have an excellent grasp on budgeting."

Cannon, in his 10th year as Delaware County administrator, is responsible for oversight of the county's general operations, and works closely with the county commissioners. He assists in supporting and implementing policies handed down by the commissioners, oversees reports from nine county department directors supervising more than 1,000 county employees, and is responsible for preparing and overseeing the county's roughly $240-million budget.

Last January, the commissioners gave 4 percent raises to employees in their office, and provided all county department directors with enough money to extend 4 percent raises to their respective employees. Supervisors, however, had the authority to provide higher or lower raises to individuals within their departments.

Department directors are given the ability to allocate raises to individual employees on a discretionary basis.

Monday's action came after commissioner Jim Ward on Oct. 13 said the "generous" raises secured by Delaware County Sheriff's Office dispatch supervisors through negotiations between the county and the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association would lead to layoffs. Those negotiations will yield 3.5-percent, 3.25-percent and 3.5-percent pay increases in each of the next three years.

It also follows the commissioners' denial of a Delaware County Board of Elections' request to provide $22,720 in additional pay to its nine full-time employees and three part-time employees last June. That request came after a consultant hired by the board of elections found Delaware County's elections employees are the second-lowest paid elections employees among counties of comparable size and complexity in Ohio.

In denying those raises, the commissioners cited sagging county revenues and said they wanted to complete a comprehensive compensation scales study for all county employees.

Ward at that time added, "I personally am not going to give someone a raise if somebody else has to be laid off."

So far, the county hasn't laid off any county employees, but the commissioners have said such action remains on the table as they look to balance the budget.

On Thursday, Cannon said he was concerned about the example the raise would set for other county employees, adding, "I don't even want to be associated with it."

Ward, however, maintained other county employees received pay increases for work conducted in 2007, and Cannon should be no different.

"Anything we've done in the last six months or year has been questioned," Ward said on Thursday. "You (Cannon) are deserving of it. Your grading shows you're deserving of it."