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Issue of October 15, 2014
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Pay increase on way for some county employees

September 11, 2013 | 08:27 AM

The Harrison County Council, after about two years of work, Monday night approved the job classification and compensation project for all county employees.

Many positions were underpaid, according to the study conducted by Waggoner, Irwin and Scheele & Associates, but a number were also categorized as overpaid.

The council, at the recommendation of the financial planning committee (Councilmen Phil Smith, Gary Davis and Gordon Pendleton) agreed to bring those salaries lacking in pay up to where they should be and leave those overpaid positions as is, with no raises, until the recommended base pay catches up to the actual pay.

The goal of the study was to reach pay equity for all internal county employees, Davis said.

"There's really no rational reason for people being paid what they're being paid," he said.

Now, with this plan in place, the council has documentation for paying positions a certain amount.

The net cost to the county will be about $95,000, Davis said, for the 2014 budget. The cost to the county for work completed by Waggoner, Irwin & Scheele, which also included a new employee handbook, totaled nearly $40,000.

"I'm very confident this is a logical, sound process and recommend it 100 percent," Davis said. "It was developed by professional human resources personnel. We had nothing to do with the evaluations ... and we shouldn't."

Davis said the process included questionnaires sent out to all county employees from Waggoner, Irwin Scheele, that were reviewed by the employees' superior. So, if there's any fallacy with the plan, it stems from the supervisors, Davis said.

Auditor Karen Engleman said some people are going to like the plan while others are going to hate it.

The highest position pay increase was that of the MCH director in the health department with a $5,554.80 raise to a base salary of $39,748.

The auditor chief deputy and superior court probation officer also saw an increase of more than $5,000.

Other significant raises include the general maintenance technicians, $4,971.20; CASA director, $4,630.20; and the child support investigator in the prosecutor's office, $4,617.60.

On the other end of the spectrum, the health department administrator's salary of $49,392 is above the recommended $44,915. Other such salaries include the animal control officer, at about $34,000, above the recommended figure of about $28,500, and the head nurse at the jail, currently making about $43,500, is recommended at $39,700.

"A business would cut all of those that are overpaid," Davis said. "But we'll accomplish the same thing over time."

Davis said it's easy to see some of the positions were overpaid because of political involvement.

Smith said the process encompasses all county employees.

Commissioner George Ethridge said it appears the council has taken a subjective process and made it objective.

"I think you've done a good job; I'm impressed with it," Ethridge said.

The council's next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.

Twitter: @rossschulz

  1. print email
    September 12, 2013 | 12:27 PM

    Would it be possible for the Democrat to publish the complete list on your website so taxpayers can see who is getting these big raises? From what I have seen here, several of these changes seem ridiculous to me. And spending $95,000 on this scheme when the county will be a million in the hole by the end of the year doesn't seem like prudent fiscal management.

  2. print email
    September 12, 2013 | 03:27 PM

    Many of the raises are mandated by the state because certain counties won't pay fair wages. Even with those mandates some employees don't get cost of living increases because power struggles between county government and the state giving them rules. Don't get a raise for 3 years then get 1% a couple times and see how "frivolous" this really is.

  3. print email
    September 12, 2013 | 05:52 PM

    When job classifications are first created inequities in pay will always be found. It sounds like the Council is handling it exactly the way they should. Going forward the classifications will help tremendously. It had to be done to keep pay equal and fair.

  4. print email
    September 12, 2013 | 10:46 PM

    We have some people who are over paid to begin with and then they use travel mileage for extra income (D.C.; OK; and various other spots out of the county) with no programs brought back for the taxpayers. They even have a building with a kitchen that is not put to use for teaching nutrition for our county. County could make money renting that building out and get rid of that money drain.

  5. print email
    County Salaries
    September 13, 2013 | 12:30 PM

    I don't feel that the County employees are overpaid (I am not a county employee, nor are any of my family members).

    I do think the county needs to make the hiring/recruiting process MUCH more transparent. Does any of the general public know how a county employee gets hired/recruited? The only ads I ever see in the paper are for the schools. Does a county personnel position get filled fairly with EVERY qualified person being able to apply, or are jobs used as political currency? Does each department head get to do his/her own hiring? That is a recipe for disaster...

    JW in Laconia
  6. print email
    September 14, 2013 | 02:50 AM

    It seems to me that the animal control officer should be getting a raise, as he is on call and can be attacked and bitten by animals, and is also a supervisor and department head. And if the "head nurse" is a registered nurse, the county may have trouble keeping one given the demand for nurses if they do not get a raise.

    One of the raises listed does trouble me, as I have observed the person, I have seen spending lots of their workday posting things, and liking things on facebook during county work hours, even posting something asking to get people to walk in the fair parade. Why can't the Commissioners get their technology people to block access to webpages like facebook to county employees? I work second shift and I am tired of looking at things on facebook that people have liked that could not have been done any other time than during work hours.

  7. print email
    September 18, 2013 | 12:49 PM

    Are you kidding? No one is ever aware of county openings. Family members or friends are sneaked in with most jobs never being posted.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email