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Commission denies request to hear grievances

September 18, 1998

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Workers in the Berkeley County Assessor's office won't get a bump in pay until the county can afford to raise the salary schedules for all of its employees, the Berkeley County Commission decided Thursday.

The commission voted to send a letter to a group of 10 assessor's office employees who forwarded a petition to the County Commission requesting it hear their grievances about a promised raise they didn't get.

"That's not at all the game we're going to play," said Commission President James Smith, who said the raises would violate the county's employee handbook.

The letter said that the commission would not act against the employee handbook, which states the grievance process stops at the department head, in this case Assessor Mearle Spickler, Smith said.

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The County Commission has no intention of honoring any union activity either, he said.

"The answer is we're simply going to follow the salary schedule and handbook," Smith said.

There's no question salaries are still low, but they've been improving, he said.

County employees have been getting regular raises in recent years, said Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham.

"We can only go so far so fast," Dunham said.

While tax increases are unpopular, Smith said, the county probably won't be able to raise the salary schedules for everyone without raising taxes.

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