By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
County pay raises look likely
County Employee Raises Vote-Rubley.jpg
Pictured is Commissioner Scott Rubley during a Budget and Finance Committee meeting. - photo by Bethany Porter

Department heads and elected officials filled the room Monday night to advocate for their employees as the county’s Budget and Finance Committee determined county employee raises. 

Employee raises were put off until the end of budget discussions in order to see how much was available to spend. Commissioner Scott Rubley first suggested a $2,000 flat raise with a longevity bonus with it.

Said Finance Department director Justin Cotton, “The flat raise is going to reward your newer employees, then the percentage raise is going to reward your longtime employees more. So the percentages favor the senior staff whereas the flat raise favors the junior staff.” 

Said Rubley, “That is one of the reasons I was leaning toward flat. One of the reasons was everything is going up for everybody and no matter what you give the senior employees a much bigger bump and the junior employees are going to get less of bump and it is going to be more of a struggle for those younger employees. That is the reason I like the flat raise.” 

Cotten provided many different scenarios of pay increases for commissioners to consider and one included a 6% raise with a longevity bonus. County Trustee Darlene Bryant did not understand why department heads were unable to determine a suitable raise for their own employees.

“If you give us a 6% increase then you should increase my payroll 6% and it should be my decision on who gets what because I know which employees work harder and which employees have more duties and that type of thing,” said Bryant. “Why is that taken away from the departments or the elected officials? We should be able to disperse that money the way we see fit.”

“Well, we just try to figure out, Darlene, a fair way and there is no fair way,” said Rubley. “If we told every department to just do it the way you want to do then we are going to have someone making $60,000 and we are going to have some people leaving.”

“Instead of doing a flat rate raise, why don’t you swap that and do a flat rate bonus and a certain percentage raise because technically the ones that have been here longer should be making more so they will in turn get a better cut,” suggested Circuit Court Clerk Casi Cantrell.

Register of Deeds Wes Williams mentioned that county employees always get the short end of the deal come budget time. 

“I think that every year at this time the uncertainty of this committee, and that is not a jab at this committee, but the employees take the weight of the uncertainty on their back when they get down to this point. I think in the past maybe there was more, but I think the federal government pumped a lot of money into this county to bear a lot of that burden,” said Williams.

“That is absolutely right, and I will tell you something else. It may not be here next year either and we have to consider that,” said Rubley.

Rubley mentioned that federal money the county received that made the budget so high this year may not be here next year. Cantrell said the federal money was used for projects that needed to be done and those projects wouldn’t be an issue again for years. 

“The people that are struggling are your younger people that have been with you for two years,” said Commissioner Cole Taylor. “So if you go with the percentage raise, your senior employees are going to be making more money than the other way. If you go with a flat raise, everybody wins. That is why we talked about doing a longevity bonus to give a little benefit to that senior employee.”

After further discussion the committee unanimously approved a $2,500 flat raise and a $200 minimum and $2,000 cap longevity bonus. The full court will vote on this next month.