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Berkeley County employees may see raises

March 16, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. All three members of the Berkeley County Commission said Tuesday that they support giving each county employee a two-step raise, meaning that in July many employees would receive a raise of at least $2,000, while others would receive as much as $4,000.

The commissioners met for nearly two hours to hold a third work session on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. They plan to continue the discussion Thursday.

No action was taken.

The commissioners also talked about allowing the county's assessor and prosecuting attorney to hire more personnel, but did not fine-tune exactly how many employees will be added to each official's staff.

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County Administrator Deborah Hammond started the meeting by handing each commissioner a thick packet of information. She said the budget she prepared is balanced and includes a two-step raise.

Full-time employees who were hired before Jan. 1, 2005, would receive a two-step raise, while those hired after that date would receive a one-step raise of at least $1,000.

The minimum step will be $1,000.

All starting salaries will be increased by $1,000, Commission President Steve Teufel said.

The county has 180 full-time employees.

Commissioner Howard Strauss said Hammond should receive the same raise as assistant prosecutors, who will receive a total raise of $3,600 if they have fewer than three years of experience with the county, or $4,000 if they have more than three years of experience.

"It's not fair for our county administrator to receive less of a raise than our county prosecutors," Strauss said.

Along with Hammond, county Engineer William "Bucky" Teach also will receive a $4,000 raise, Teufel said.

Funding for more personnel and raises will come from $2 million that is expected to be rolled over from this year's budget into next year's budget.

Teufel has said several times that the rollover amount could be as much as $3 million or more. If that is the case, adjustments can be made later, he said.

The meeting ended after the commissioners discussed how much funding to give to outside agencies.

When it became obvious they were not going to be able to meet the requests of some agencies - including Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation, the county's Health Department and Berkeley Senior Services - they cut funding from others.

Thousands of dollars were cut from proposed allocations to Loaves and Fishes, Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival, Crime Solvers, CASA and others.

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