Coroner to get $31K supplement and new vehicles

Coroner Renee Godwin is set to get a $31,252 supplement, which could double her salary.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved a $31,253 pay supplement for the county’s part-time coroner as part of $2.6 million in Budget Improvement Requests at Tuesday’s virtual meeting.

Commissioner Kelly Robinson laid out four conditions he wanted for the BOC to get approval of the BIRs, which also included financing for vehicles for the sheriff’s office.

One of the conditions was a hefty supplement for Coroner Renee Godwin.

Commissioner Henry Mitchell requested a $4,800 a year car allowance for Tax Commissioner Greg Baker.

The $2.6 million in BIRs passed by a 3-2 vote, with commissioners Tarenia Carthan, Mitchell and Robinson voting in favor, and Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones and Commissioner Ann Jones Guider voting against.

“She was making part-time money, but she is on call 24 hours,” Mitchell said of Godwin. “I did some research, and her salary wasn’t in line with other counties in similar size.”

Under Robinson’s request approved by the BOC, Godwin’s current $33,747 part-time salary will increase to $65,000.

In addition to the supplement, the BIR calls for the coroner’s office to get fencing for a new building ($34,580) and four equipped vehicles ($252,000).

Guider sarcastically requested $500,000 for dirt roads in her district. That request failed on a 3-2 vote with Jones and Guider voting in favor.

The sheriff’s office will get $500,000 towards the purchase of new Tahoes. Another $500,000 will come out of the sheriff’s budget to help purchase and equip the new vehicles.

Mitchell said the coroner’s supplement could “come down” depending on the county population and number of deaths.

“I needed more data to support that request,” Mitchell said. “Even with the supplement, it didn’t put her at the top of the list.”

In addition, the BIRs restore 8.25% back into all department budgets at a cost of $1.7 million.

Other items Robinson wanted that were approved:

• Authorize the County Administrator to move forward in developing a long term capital plan for Economic Development, Public Safety vehicles, Transportation, and Parks & Rec Library;

• Bridge removal from old jail to be used at Punkintown Park not to exceed $200K; and

• Restore operating budget to all Elected Officials, and County Administrator will oversee how the operating budget is restored to her direct reports.

Robinson also requested that $150,000 allocated to the Veterans Court be removed, with $50,000 of that money going to the solicitor general and $50,000 to the district attorney for pretrial detention and victim services.