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Top Washington County employees to see 5 percent pay increase

Washington County commissioners have approved 5 percent pay raises for top department heads while freezing their own salaries for next year.

Commissioners praised the work of County Attorney Pete Orput, Sheriff Bill Hutton and Administrator Molly O’Rourke before unanimously approving the increases on Dec. 10.

Orput, in his third year as the county’s top prosecutor, received a 5 percent increase, bringing his salary to $142,590 annually.

Commissioner Gary Kriesel cited new initiatives that Orput has implemented over the past year, which include working with truant students and veterans as well as reaching out to various nonprofit groups.

“Just very impressed with what Pete has done in his department,” Kriesel said.

Orput’s first assistant will receive an increase as well, to a salary of $128,331, while his executive assistant follows with a 2.5 percent increase at $53,810.

Hutton also got a 5 percent raise, putting his salary at $142,590. His chief deputy will be paid $128,331.

Commissioners supported the salary bump recognizing Hutton’s involvement in the community and work with outside contractors to provide squad equipment.

“His years of experience far exceed what most counties have,” Commissioner Fran Miron said.

Kriesel echoed Miron’s comments and added that Hutton “isn’t sitting on his hands, he’s constantly looking for ways to improve public safety.”

The board unanimously approved another 5 percent pay raise for O’Rourke, the county’s top executive. Her salary will be $154,989. Commissioners said O’Rourke has taken on many challenges since taking the position two years ago.

She worked on the redistricting plan for the county, guided the Washington County Board through the recession and provided guidance through the budget process, Kriesel said.

Miron said her salary is on the low end compared to other Twin Cities metro counties and an increase “helps maintain some equity and competitiveness in the market.”

Commissioners did not give themselves a raise, keeping their salaries frozen for the fifth straight year. Each commissioner will continue to receive $52,713 annually.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.