A new wage scale for most county employees will take effect January 1st allowing for pay raises based on their years of service.
The county commission adopted the plan Monday night December 17.
The county implemented a wage scale for the sheriff's department last year and plans are to develop a step plan for the ambulance service next year. This plan primarily addresses the pay of clerks who work for county officials at the courthouse and county complex, librarian and assistants, landfill employees, custodians, and senior center coordinator
"We have been debating on what to do about step raises," said County Mayor Mike Foster. "We are in a three year process of getting all the county employees on steps. We wanted all of them to be based on job description which we had already done at the sheriff's office and jail (last year). We'll be doing it at the ambulance service (next year). We wound up doing a four step series based on the number of years they've worked. If they have worked from one to four years, they are in step one. Those from five to eight years of service are in step two. Employees with nine to twelve years are in step three and those with more than twelve years are in the fourth step," said Foster.
Foster had wanted to make job classification part of the equation in the wage scale along with years of service for all employees but settled on making it apply primarily to the eight employees at the landfill who will be classified as laborers, truck drivers, mechanics, and equipment operators. "Some of the landfill people were actually making as little as $8.75 per hour, which is not much. But we have moved them up (in the wage scale) and if you have gone and gotten certified to be a landfill operator then you move to another step," he said.
Currently all but one employee working for an elected or appointed public official at the courthouse and county complex earns the same salary, $23,024 per year and they will all top out under the new four step pay scale at $26,432 within four years. Some will top out quicker than others based on their years of service. One employee in the assessor of property's office who already receives $28,579 will get an increase of $750 this year for longevity. The two employees of the county mayor's office will continue to earn extra money for administering grants, which has reportedly been up to $4,200 per year.
Foster said having wage scales in place is a good thing for employees because they will know what their future raises are going to be and it helps the county in planning budgets each year. "We did take out the longevity pay because it was based on how many years they worked. In other words, you had to have worked five years before you got a little bit (of longevity pay) and it went on up from there. This way (wage scale) incorporates it (longevity) into their salary making it a better situation for employees and a better situation for us doing budgets so you know what you're budgeting each year. This way they (employees) know what to anticipate. If we (county) have money to give raises we know what it's going to be. Its just makes the budgeting process better but it also is better for the employees if they know what to expect,"said Foster.
Since the wage scale will take effect January 1st in the middle of the budget year, Foster said employees will get half of their pay raise now. "They (county commission) didn't prorate back (to July 1st) so it will start January 1st. They (employees) will get half of that raise this year. Then in July it will be fully implemented," said Foster.