PENDLETON - A proposed change to Umatilla County's home rule charter could give private citizens a voice in determining the salary of elected officials.

The ballot measure is part of the May 17 ballot, which was mailed to voters Friday.

The 2004 Charter Review Committee's proposal would re-establish an independent Compensation Review Committee to make salary and benefit recommendations for the county's elected officials.

The Compensation Review Committee will be composed of private citizens, appointed by the county commissioners.

Representatives from the county's Budget Committee would likely be included also, according to Planning Commission member Clinton Reeder, a supporter of the plan. The precise size and composition of the committee has yet to be decided by the commissioners.

Such a committee existed prior to the adoption of the home rule charter in 1993, said Reeder.

"It's not really a new proposal," Reeder said. "What it does is put a third party into the review process. With an independent committee, we'll have greater public input."

Under the terms of the proposal, the full Budget Committee would still approve the salaries of the commissioners, sheriff and district attorney.

The Charter Review Committee's proposal also calls for decreasing the frequency of charter reviews, from every two years to every four years, removing outdated provisions from the county charter and updating the ordinance signature policy to reflect current practice.

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