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Pay increase on way for some county employees

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.