Raises approved for county employees

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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County employees will have the potential to receive a 4 percent pay raise in fiscal year 2019, but with it comes a 10 percent cut to dependent coverage.

County commissioners approved giving each department head enough money for a 4 percent raise across the board last week with the understanding it’s up to each department head how that money is split between employees. Everyone may not receive the full 4 percent.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Gaylord Kennedy, who was in favor of the 4 percent raise and cut to dependent coverage, expressed concern that not every employee would receive the same percentage increase in pay.

“I think we should stay with the same policy and give everyone the same,” he said.

County Judge J.D. Clark said it’s not a change in policy.

“We’ve done it that way in the past,” he said. “Something I heard from department heads is they would rather have it to divide up as they see fit because some employees merit more of a raise.

“If you want to do it evenly, we can.”

Kennedy said he thought it would cause problems because they’re not a private business.

“That’s the only way to do it is evenly across the board,” he said. “You’re going to have all kinds of problems.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Danny White said in other departments, everybody has assigned jobs, but everybody does the same job at the precinct barns.

Clark said other department heads told him there might be “an employee who busts their tail and merits more of a raise than someone else.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Harry Lamance agreed with Clark’s point.

“I believe that,” he said. “Where’s the incentive to do better if you can’t get a little? Doesn’t have to be a whole lot.”

Clark said another option for the money would be for a department head to give 2 percent across the board and split the remaining 2 percent according to merit.

Kennedy noted that each department head would take care of their employees.

“They’re the ones that have to be there,” he said.

Clark reiterated commissioners could designate it as 4 percent across the board.

“I based it on what I was hearing from department heads,” he said, “on the way they’d like to see it. It doesn’t change the bottom line; it changes the flexibility of the department heads.”

Kennedy and White said they would issue their pay increases straight across the board.

“We haven’t had raises in five years, so if I can give someone 4 percent, then I hate to give the next guy 2 percent,” White said.

Clark said he would also give his raises across the board.

“I plan to do mine across the board, but that’s up to me. And I know everybody has different situations and needs,” he said.

The judge noted the pay increase is for department heads and elected officials, too.

“If someone doesn’t want that, they need to let [County Treasurer] Katherine [Hudson] know,” he said.

Commissioners’ other option, as previously presented by Clark, was a 3 percent pay raise and dependent coverage the same at 50 percent.

Kennedy made the motion for the 4 percent increase and cut to dependent coverage, and Lamance gave it a second. The motion passed unanimously.

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