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County pay hikes in limbo

March 19, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

The Washington County Commissioners agreed informally on Thursday night to increase the pay scale for county employees by 8 percent, but haven't decided on raises for all employees.

Because 41 employees are at the minimum pay level in any of the 20 salary grades, they automatically would see an 8 percent pay increase, said Human Resources Director Alan J. Davis.

Those pay increases would cost less than $100,000, he said.

About half of the 41 employees are deputy recruits for the Washington County Sheriff's Department who are at salary grade seven, Davis said.

Davis told the commissioners the county has had problems recruiting new employees and keeping deputy recruits because the pay isn't competitive.

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"Other police agencies are trying to recruit our guys out of the police academy before we get them back to Washington County," Davis said.

Employees at grade seven can make as much as $35,271 a year under the current pay scale. That maximum would go up to $38,093 under the pay scale the commissioners agreed to on Thursday.

"Our wages are seriously lacking in many critical areas, not just public safety," Davis said.

Under the current pay scale, County Administrator Rodney Shoop's annual salary could only go as high as $95,924.

His salary could go as high as $103,597 under the pay scale that is expected to take effect July 1. Shoop is the only county employee at grade 20, the highest salary grade.

At Shoop's request, Davis had asked the commissioners to change the salary grades of seven of the 20 highest paid county employees, including Davis'.

Within the last two weeks Shoop asked Davis to withdraw that request after hearing concerns from commissioners and employees.

Shoop said several employees, some of whom would have been affected, told Shoop they were worried it would lead to a morale problem because it doesn't affect all employees.

The commissioners also discussed Davis' proposal to give all employees an 8 percent pay increase that would cost $1.8 million.

Commissioners John L. Schnebly and Bert L. Iseminger said 8 percent was too high for them.

Iseminger said the employees should get as much of a raise as the county can afford, but it may be lower than 8 percent and may have to be spread over two years.

The commissioners still have to approve the pay scale change and the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The last time the pay scale was changed was two years ago, Davis said.

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