Council to review employee salaries
Each Harrison County employee could soon see a compensation increase. It comes after workers with the Harrison County Highway Dept. filled the government center to ask for a salary review.
The county uses a consulting firm, Waggoner, Irwin, Sheele and Associates, to study the compensation of county workers and compare it to other communities in the region and state while also factoring in population and revenue. The data is shared with the council to better understand what county workers should be paid.
“If we’re going to do a salary review, I would like to see it be a comprehensive salary review and include all county departments,” Harrison County Council president Donnie Hussung said. “If we just do one department and then we decide to do another, it just gets (to be) a crazy expense.”
David Jones, a Harrison County Highway Dept. worker for a few months but 15 years as a Harrison County employee, pleaded the highway department’s case on Tuesday, Nov. 12 (moved from the second Monday due to Veterans Day).
“We’re really for just a review, at this point,” Jones said, adding it’s been a while since the department had an evaluation regarding wages and compensation.
Councilor Holli Castetter said the last time the highway department had its wages reviewed was in September 2016.
Jones said highway department employees are paid under the state average by approximately $5,000, which could be why he and his colleagues have noticed a higher turnover and the department has had a more difficult time hiring personnel. He added there are 31 employees who have worked for the county for less than five years.
This year alone, several employees have left the county to go work for Floyd County. Jones said the overtime, vacation policy and insurance premiums are all better in the neighboring county.
In February, new requirements from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation prohibit entry-level drivers from taking a commercial driver’s license test without completing a mandatory knowledge and behind-the-wheel training programs.
It is likely the requirement will eliminate on-the-job training and require workers or the county to spend more money to get certified.
“I think it’s going to be more of a struggle going forward,” Jones said.
Hussung said he understands county highway workers don’t go work for the county for wages alone. In fact, for-profit businesses can pay employees a higher wage. The council president added he did want to see the workers paid closer to what they deserve and what the county can afford.
“We’ve talked about this several times, that we should probably get this updated, and I would be in favor of doing that,” Castetter said.
Councilman Kyle Nix said it’s typical for a county employee to reach out to a superior to discuss wages before approaching the county. The superior could be at the highway department or a county commissioner.
“We did ask the highway workers to come and present something to you all,” Commissioner Kenny Saulman said following Nix’s comment.
The commissioners approved that move earlier this month.
“I want to make sure that we have the support of the superiors and that needed to be public,” Nix said, rather than just having the workers asking for the request.
Nix added it would be best to continue following the procedure that a superior should make the request and support the review.
Nix reminded the employees in attendance that the review would take some time, considering it will include other departments in the county. Employees should check with their superiors to keep track of the status of the review.
“I want you to understand so you have a realistic expectation of the time line,” Nix said.
The Harrison County Council’s next meeting will be Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.