Raises for Select County Workers Worry Officials - The Missourian: County

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Raises for Select County Workers Worry Officials

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Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:00 am

Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer worries that some county employees will be upset that they are not going to get proposed pay raises like their fellow public workers.

“I know there’s going to be employees (who) aren’t going to like it,” Griesheimer said.

He added, “We’ve got a lot of great employees here, and we all wish that we could give raises to everybody, but it just isn’t in the cards.”

The county assessor’s office and the recorder of deeds office plan to give their employees pay raises with money saved by leaving positions unfilled, Griesheimer said.

An administrative secretary in the building department will also get a raise since a position is not being refilled in that office, Griesheimer added.

Building Department Director Bill Placht said he would not call it a raise. Rather, he said, two employees are being promoted since the office manager retired.

His office will actually pay less in salaries next year than the current fiscal year, Placht added.

Employees in the recorder of deeds office will each get about $200 more a month since a chief deputy clerk position will be left vacant.

It is unknown how much of a raise the employees in the assessor’s office would get. County Assessor Tom Copeland could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Deputy County Clerk Steven Jacquin said he could not release the raise amounts without a formal public records request from The Missourian.

The last time county employees got a raise was 2008, and it was 5.7 percent across the board, said county Auditor Tammy Vemmer.

Recorder of Deeds Sharon Birkman said she also plans to hire a part-time employee with some of the money she will save by leaving a position vacant.

She said her office will also pay out less in salaries next year.

Technology has allowed her office to work more efficient with fewer employees, she said.

Griesheimer said it could cause dissension among employees who don’t get raises if their peers get raises.

“I don’t know what to do,” Griesheimer said, adding that he looks forward to the day when the county can get out of the “economic funk.”

County employees are “grossly underpaid,” Griesheimer said. But the county does not have the revenue to raise wages, he said.

“The employees deserve a raise,” Griesheimer said.

Last year, full-time county employees got a $700 one-time increase, but that will go away in the new budget.

He worries that once the economy improves and hiring picks up in other areas that some county employees will leave the county for better pay elsewhere.

“If the job market gets better, we’re going to have a hard time keeping employees,” Griesheimer said.

The county commission in budget negotiations supported the plan to allow the employees in the assessor’s office and the recorder of deeds office to get raises, he said.

“We didn’t take it lightly,” Griesheimer said.

The proposed raises would have to be approved as part of the 2013 budget, Vemmer said. The county commissioners are scheduled to approve the fiscal year 2013 budget in January.

Even if the county commissioners had disagreed with some employees getting raises and others not, there would have been little recourse, Griesheimer said.

Department heads are legally allowed to use the funding from their operations to give raises, he said.

It is important to note, Griesheimer said, that the employees who would get raises under the proposal could have to work harder since there will be fewer employees to handle the load, he said.

“They are going to have to do more work with less people,” Griesheimer said.

Neither the department heads nor the commissioners are getting raises, he said

He emphasized that it is not a matter of favoritism in terms of the employees who are getting raises.

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