FLORENCE — Leo Lew received a 10% raise Wednesday following his appointment as Pinal County manager last month.

Lew was previously assistant county manager and was serving as interim county manager earlier this year. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for the raise.

Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, said he believed the county would more than make up the cost of the raise by the savings and efficiency Lew brings to the job. The raise is retroactive to March 8 for an annual salary of $193,608.27.

Midpoint of Grade 28 on Pinal County’s salary schedule is $196,568, and the average actual salaries of incumbents with similar positions in the region is $200,464, Mary Ellen Sheppard, interim deputy county manager and human resources director, told the board. She said per county policy, the appointing authority has discretion to pay up to the midpoint of the relevant grade without further review or approval.

Board Chairman Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said he had the authority to negotiate a contract with Lew, but Lew said he didn’t want one because he didn’t want to be treated any differently than anyone else in the organization. A 10% raise “still puts him below the midpoint of our range,” Miller said.

Lew, who has worked at the county since 2009, has been seen as a rising star in the government and was a finalist for county manager in 2019. Since he began working for the county, Lew has performed dual roles as the county’s Office of Management and Budget director and Public Health director. He has also served as acting county manager in the county manager’s absence. A certified public accountant, he came to Pinal County in 2009 as senior budget and research analyst and became OMB director in 2011.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.