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Postgame at the public hearing

More interesting than the official stuff at the public hearing on Linn County’s budget Monday night was a conversation afterward.

Sheriff Don Zeller, a Democrat from Covington, and Dave Machacek, a Republican from Alburnett who says he’ll probably run for supervisor, were standing in the aisle after the board’s chambers had mostly emptied, having a respectful but very serious argument.

Zeller contended that Machacek and others who led the petition drive to expand the board to five members didn’t get the point across that it meant two new supervisor salaries would be added to the county budget.

By not making that clear, Zeller said, they set the county up for the salary debacle that’s clouded the supervisors (and everyone else in Linn County government, Zeller says) for the past two months. When the Compensation Board recommended a 6 percent raise for all county elected officials, Zeller argued, it blew the top off the people who were “misinformed” into believing the five supervisors would divvy up the three current supervisors’ salaries.

Machacek said it isn’t true. Back then he promised he’d push for the salaries to be split up between the five, but never said it was a definite thing.

“We’ve drug this board every step of the way,” Machacek said. “We drug them to redistricting, we drug them to a five-member board–”

“But will we be better with five supervisors?” Zeller cut in. He does not appear to be a fan of either the five-member board or the election-by-district.

“Absolutely, Don!” Machacek said.

“I don’t think so,” Zeller said.

It’s about better representation, Machacek and Ed Mulholland, of Marion, said. Zeller said he’s from a rural area, and he’s been elected several times.

Machacek pointed out that Zeller gets the endorsement of the Hawkeye Labor Council (something Machacek has never enjoyed in his failed runs for supervisor). But he was optimistic about the next election.

“We’ve got a different dynamic now with five supervisors,” he said.

“I hope you’re right,” Zeller said.

“I do too,” Machacek said. “And I think I am.”  

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One Response

  1. Curt Zingula says:

    The public ruckus over the supervisor salaries isn’t about adding two more salaries – its about the amount each makes and each makes far more than nearly all county supervisors in the nation. Far more than most people for that matter.
    It doesn’t surprise me that some people, who were not part of the popular vote to change the form of county government, are now trying to reclaim respect . Let’s all be big boys and girls and move on to make the best of this situation!

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