County employees ask board to reconsider pay increases

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Last week during the Jones County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board preliminarily approved (for budget purposes) a 2.75 percent pay increase for Community Services Director Lucia Herman.

     Herman met with the supervisors during the Feb. 19 board meeting to ask the board to reconsider a higher pay increase.

     Herman is not only the Jones County director, but serves as a coordinator on the nine-county regional mental health board. Other job duties include: General Assistance director, Substance Abuse Administrator, and Payee Services director.

     Herman said even with the 2.75 percent as proposed, she is significantly under paid when it comes to the other nine counties in the region.

     “I continue to do work for the county and for the region,” she said. “The pay gap continues to be an issue.”

     Ninety-five percent of Herman’s salary is reimbursed by the region.

     Herman said she is also lower than other Jones County offices, and she’s been a county employee for 20 years. She said her pay is lower than that of recent county hires.

     “We all deserve a raise,” continued Herman. “I also deserve a raise.”

     Herman acknowledged that mental health services are not going away.

     “It’s not an easy job,” she said. “There will be more and more.”

     Herman asked the board to bring her salary up to the $70,000 range to be in line with other regional directors.

     “The majority are above my pay and I have to have a required four-year degree,” she added. “My work should be valued like any other directors.”

      In comparing her work with that of other counties, Supervisor Joe Oswald said it’s not always easy to compare. He said as county supervisors, they don’t compare their work with other county boards of supervisors.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach, who sits on the mental health regional board, said he knows how much work goes into this role. “Being close to the situation, I know the work that goes on. I don’t think Jones County should be at a lower rate within the region.”

     Manternach informed the supervisors that the regional governing board already proposed $70,000 for Herman’s salary, with the majority reimbursed.

     “I don’t think that another board should decide what wages we ought to pay in Jones County,” commented Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach.

     There was a motion by Manternach to equalize Herman’s pay with that of the rest of the region. The motion died due to lack of a second.

     “I just ask that you reconsider,” said Herman. “I don’t feel valued.”

     County Attorney Kristofer Lyons also asked the board to reconsider the 2.75 proposed pay increase for Kelly Dodge, the county attorney’s administrative assistant.

     “I thank you for the pay raise for my position and the assistant county attorney (Amy Dollash),” said Lyons. “I know these are tough decisions to make.”

     However, Lyons said it’s easy to view Dodge’s role as that of an office secretary, and she does far more than that.

     Lyons asked the board to reconsider his 5.5 percent request.

     “I think it’s warranted with the variety of responsibilities she (Dodge) has,” he continued. “She’s been here for 20 years and runs that office. She generates revenue for the county, and I want to see her treated like an office manager.”

     Lyons said Dodge’s role is not different than that of the Secondary Roads’ office manager (Roberta Robertson). “We need to treat certain classifications the same,” he said.

In other county budget news:

     The board approved a new full-time hire for the Conservation Department. The Conservation Board proposed a Conservation Resource Manager at a salary of $45,000. The vote passed 4-1, with Manternach opposed.

     • The board set a public hearing for Tuesday, March 5 on a proposal to enter into a General Obligation County Purpose Loan Agreement to borrow $450,000 for county projects for the next fiscal year.

     • The board set public hearings for Tuesday, March 12 to amend the FY 2019 budget and to approve the FY 2020 budget.



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