More Raises

A majority of county commissioners voted at Monday's meeting to add a 1% raise to the already approved 1% bonus for county employees. Voting for the raise was Commissioner David Meers, Earlena Maples, Roy Bledsoe, Harold Duff, Chris Park and Wayne Gardin. The raises and bonuses are estimated to cost approximately $173,000.00 if all employees get raises and bonuses.

Earlier in the budget process, commissioners had approved the 1% bonus for all county employees with the stipulation that if the school board gave raises to school employees greater than 1% the commission would revisit the matter to consider larger raises for county employees. Of course the school board did give raises greater than 1% to all school employees.

Follow this with me. The commission approves a 1% bonus for all county employees but added the stipulation that they would consider a larger raise for the county employees if the school board gave their employees greater than 1% raises. Of course the school board knows no limits and without hesitation voted for massive raises for school employees. But unless the commission approves the school board's budget the school board couldn't give anybody a raise.

So commission votes to give the school board another million dollars which allows the school board to give school employees bigger raises than county employees which allows the commission to come back and give county employees bigger raises.

Is it just me or is there some kind of weird circular logic here. Whatever it is, when it's all said and done, you, we, the tax payers just paid about $650,000.00 in raises and bonuses. You can add another 15% on top of that for the accompanying increases required for Social Security, Medicare and retirement.

Hold on to your hat and fasten your seat belt. We will be hammered with a huge property tax increase next year.

County leaders approve pay increase for employees

Greg Wilkerson News herald

Members of the Loudon County Commission voted to approve an additional 1 percent raise for county employees Monday night, above the one percent, one-time adjustment already in the budget.

The action was taken to bring county employees' pay in-line with the amount approved by the school board for teachers.

Commissioner Don Miller voted against the raise, saying this is the wrong year for such action considering the poor state of the economy and the number of people in the community who are either out of work or making less than they were previously.

Miller and Commissioners Nancy Marcus, Austin Shaver and Bob Franke were out-voted 6 to 4 and the raise passed.

After Monday night's action, the county is set to pay about 2 percent more in salaries to county employees than the previous year.

The 1 percent, one-time adjustment, is set to be divided equally among full time employees, giving them $345 each, according to Director of County Accounts and Budgets Tracy Blair. Some part time employees will also receive a pro-rated  amount.

Blair said the 1 percent passed Monday is a wage increase, not a one-time adjustment, and the amount will vary per individual, depending on their current pay. "That will be on-going," Blair said.

The county's fiscal year begins July 1.

When the commission passed the budget earlier in the month, County Mayor Doyle Arp told the members he intended to come back with an amendment to bring the county employees in-line with any pay increase given to employees of the school board.

Since then the board gave teachers a step raise, which is close to 1.5 percent, and an additional half-a-percent raise, for a total of about 2 percent.

Miller said he was under the impression when the board approved an additional about $1 million in funding for the school board, the money would be used in part to fund a 1 percent raise, and he was surprised with the action the school board took.

The Loudon County Commission only gives the school board a dollar amount and the board members decide how to allocate the funds.

Commissioner Roy Bledsoe said he did not agree with the school board's decision, but voted in favor of the wage increase for county employees as presented by the budget committee.