Iowa’s Des Moines County Loses IT Director Following Salary Negotiations

Des Moines County Information Technology Director Gina Erickson submitted her resignation after heated debate with county supervisors.

by Tanner Cole, The Hawk Eye / March 15, 2018
Courtesy Des Moines County

(TNS) — After salary debates turned heated last month, Des Moines County Information Technology Director Gina Erickson will resign.

Erickson reports directly to the Des Moines County Board of Supervisors. She submitted her resignation letter Sunday to the board's chairman, Jim Cary. Erickson declined to provide further comment beyond her letter. She said her attorney advised her to wait to comment until after her county-requested exit interview.

"I find it sad that it has come to this, but I no longer feel that this position serves the best interest of myself or my family and I believe it's time for me to move on," Erickson wrote in her resignation letter. "Contrary to what is probably believed, this decision has absolutely nothing to do with a monetary decision, but more based on trust and principal [sic]."

Cary declined to comment when called Wednesday.

In this year's county budget hearings, Erickson pushed for a salary increase for herself and for increased payment for IT employees who work on-call hours supporting local emergency services and various county departments. Talks included budgeting more for overtime pay and paying home internet bills of the IT staff members.

Requested IT department raises were among several budget cuts supervisors oversaw during the year's budget process. Erickson noted that differences between her own pay and other IT directors in the state is greater than existing differences with other department heads.

Erickson's drafted fiscal 2019 budget document included a 27.8 percent salary increase. Erickson included the figure to show supervisors the discrepancy between her salary and comparable counties and never intended it as a serious suggestion, she said. She eventually requested a 9 percent raise plus a $6,000 stipend for serving as the county's Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act officer.

In the final work session on the subject, Erickson's debates with Supervisor Tom Broeker grew particularly fiery. Broeker accused her of holding the budget process "hostage" for her requests.

During that meeting, Erickson said Budget Director Cheryl McVey misled her into cutting requested raises out of last year's budget, and that this year McVey was telling other staffers that IT salary requests were keeping other departments from getting raises. Erickson said there was "backstabbing" taking place in the county government.

McVey denied Erickson's charges.

Erickson worked for Des Moines County for 24 years, and served as IT director for 13. Her last day will be March 23.

A Facebook post she wrote Monday said she is starting a new job March 26.

Her letter said she has already begun training other staff to handle her administrative duties.

©2018 The Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.