• Last modified 1098 days ago (Jan. 24, 2018)


County pay to be reviewed again

Staff writer

The schedule and scheme of employee pay raises could change after county commissioners agreed Monday to conduct a salary survey to determine what similar counties pay for comparable jobs.

The most recent salary survey was four years ago, when a consultant said wages were nearly nine percent less than market peers and it would take $189,000 to put recommended pay increases into place.

In July 2014, as the county deliberated its 2015 budget, services such as road maintenance were cut to accommodate raises averaging 8.7 percent for 56 employees deemed underpaid. Meanwhile, as commissioners pondered whether to give raises to elected department heads, employees whose wages were not being adjusted were expressing hard feelings.

Four months later, commissioners pulled back $1,500 from raises budgeted for elected officials, giving them $6,000 raises guaranteed for two years instead.

Monday’s decision to pursue a salary survey was made after commission chairman Dianne Novak said she takes issue with elected officials being included in a two percent salary increase approved before commissioners knew the cost-of-living index for 2017 rose one percent.

Novak said she thought elected department heads should not be included in the increase.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he is not in favor of excluding elected department heads, but does not object to excluding commissioners.

“That can be part of our discussion going forward,” Becker said.

“Our pay scale to me is so complex, and so many factors go into it,” Novak said.

Commissioners voted Monday to spend $6,500 for four acres of land north of the existing Marion transfer station for the purpose of building a new station. The county will also pay all fees and costs associated with the transaction.

Marion city council accepted the county’s $6,500 offer on a split vote Jan. 16, with mayor Todd Heitschmidt opposed because he considered the offer too low.

In other matters:

  • Longevity raises for four county employees were approved.
  • A proposed agreement for Tabor College to use the health department facility for a family and population-focused course is being negotiated.
  • Heard an update on the Women’s, Infants and Children’s program; and
  • Commissioners discussed having someone available to open county park and lake office until a new superintendent is hired. Commissioners will discuss the matter further in a special meeting at 3 p.m. today.

Last modified Jan. 24, 2018