Employee raises discussed at commissioners meeting

Dawn Rye | Writer

During last week’s Turner County commissioners meeting, a motion was made to elect Commissioner Mick Miller as the new Chairman and Commissioner Tony Ciampa as vice-chairman. The meeting reorganizations for the 2021 year were discussed, leaving many items on the agenda the same. 

The one item that brought much concern with the board was the raises each employee was receiving. Commissioner Lyle Van Hove said with no Turner County Fair and no money raised, all fair staff employees would not receive a raise. A motion was made to leave fair employee’s salaries the same. 

Van Hove asked about the two percent raise for the county employees?

Auditor Shelia Hagemann explained on her salary, it would have totaled $137.00 and Deputy Sue Deutsch’s salary would increase $121.00 monthly. 

Van Hove asked, “Does that $80.00 increase include the employees at the highway shop?”

Hagemann noted yes and that they figure out the hourly wage. 

Ciampa asked if the county does a lump sum plus the percentage when it came to raises? 

Hagemann said she doesn’t remember how the board came up with the amount. She noted the $120 would make a two percent increase and then came up with the hourly salary. 

Van Hove commented in 2020, part-time employees received a 1.5 percent increase in their hourly wage. 

Miller said 1.5 percent also went to full-time employees. He explained the 1.5 percent went to full-time courthouse and full-time highway department staff. 

Van Hove noted that the percentage was for new employees with a starting salary.

Miller said a percentage varies when it comes to salary wages. 

Commissioner Mark Kaufmann suggested there should be a salary cap on every position.

Commissioner Jared Hyberston noted they have to consider the cost-of-living expenses. He said the cost of living is between 1.25 to 2.25 percent. He noted that if the board wanted raises to be a flat dollar amount, he would agree. 

Hagemann explained the board had done raises both ways, percentages and flat dollar amount. 

Ciampa asked instead of the flat dollar amount, does the board want to go to a percentage? 

Van Hove said the fairest way is two percent because the top employees do not receive the $100.00. 

Hybertson commented it would narrow the gap if the employees would receive a straight dollar amount raise. 

Ciampa said he has a problem with it when an employee who has only been employed for six months receives the same amount as an employee here for years. He noted he feels it’s not right for a staff member with a short amount of time receiving the same as an employee of 20 some years. 

Hybertson commented that if this option was to offset the cost of living, it doesn’t matter because the living cost will always go up no matter the years of service. 

Ciampa noted he doesn’t have a problem if every employee would receive a cost-of-living two percent raise. He said he doesn’t want it to look like each employee gets the same raise. Ciampa commented he wants raises to be an incentive for people to want to stay longer. 

Hybertson explained that for the City of Centerville, the cost of living increase would be 1.25 percent on top of the year review raise based on performance.

Miller said the employees that have worked here for years are still receiving an incentive. 

Hagemann explained that after one year, an employee receives a $100.00 per month raise. She said the only difference is the bonus check is a one-time bonus check. Hagemann noted the monthly salary increase is across the board for all employees. After four months, she explained the part-time salaries receive a $50.00 raise and .30 cents for CDL and after a year of employment, it goes up to the $100.00 a monthly raise. 

Miller said he was ok if the board changes the language at a two percent cost of living and adjusts accordingly. 

Van Hove made the motion for all employees to receive a two percent cost of living raise and that was seconded. He said he also makes a motion for full-time employees to receive a 1.5 percent increase in starting wages. 

Ciampa commented then the deputies need to receive the raise based on experience. 

Hagemann explained that if the amount is not raised, the county will fall behind on starting wages. 

“Most people don’t come here because of the wages. They come here because they want to get their foot in the door,” commented Ciampa. 

Highway Superintendent Kent Austin said in 2016, Turner County had the lowest paid highway workers in the state. 

Miller noted the employee’s need to earn their salary and get paid for their performance. 

Austin explained he does evaluations every year because his handbooks require it. 

Hybertson made a motion to give part-time employee’s a 1.5 percent increase in their salary and that was seconded.

Van Hove suggested new employees receive the .10 cent quarterly raise and after five years, that incentive should end. 

Hagemann said to do that or bump of the starting wage and get rid of the .10 cent quarterly raise. 

A motion was made to cap the .10 cent quarterly raise after five years.

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