County commissioners are considering a $2 raise for judicial commissioners in an effort to stem the high turnover rate.
The county’s Budget and Finance Committee met to consider several proposed departmental budgets for fiscal year 2015-16. Among the budgets were the county executive, finance, property assessor, trustee, veterans service, circuit court clerk, general sessions court, juvenile court, environmental codes, and the budget for judicial commissioners.
Each budget included requests for raises, which were systematically removed by committee members due to the county’s tradition of giving across-the-board raises to its employees. However, a push was made by Policy and Personnel Committee chairman Ken Martin to include a $2 an hour raise for all judicial commissioners due to four leaving within a two-and-a-half-month period.
“This has somewhat of a twist on it guys,” said Martin. “We’ve had more resign. All of them left for a reason and we’re in the process of hiring two more. We’re asking to put something into salaries on this. I would like to give every one of them a $2 an hour raise.”
Judicial commissioners start at $7.50 an hour. During a recent Policy and Personnel Committee meeting, consideration was given to switching to shifts and increasing the salary in an attempt to prevent any more of them from resigning.
Martin says the county is in the process of hiring two more judicial commissioners and a salary increase would encourage them to stick around, as well as deter any of the seven currently on staff from resigning.
“This is not an easy job,” Martin continued. “It’s pretty tough and I don’t want to lose any more. We’ve got some good ones right now and I would like to keep them. We figure it will be an additional $18,000 a year into the budget, somewhere around there. It’s a lot of money, but it’s not. We are spending money to train these people. It’s an important job.”
If an across-the-board raise is given to county employees this year, judicial commissioners would not be eligible for that if they get this, says Martin.
“If we approve a raise for the county, I don’t think they need to get that,” he said. “They just need to get the $2 period this year. That would be a one-time increase because of the turnover we’ve had.”
On the committee with Ken Martin are Commissioners Terry Bell, Carl E. Bouldin, Michael Martin, and Diane Starkey. The budget for judicial commissioners, including the proposed raise, passed 5-0.
The departmental budgets must still receive approval from the Financial Management Committee and the full Warren County Commission.