Pay & Benefits II

Even though a little late, commissioners passed the final part of their 2011-2012 budget Monday. The main point of contention had been an increase in the employee share of health insurance. The two options being proposed were a either the employee paying 15% or 12% of the insurance costs.

The first motion for the 15% split failed to gain a majority vote but the motion for the 12% split passed. The new policy will require the employee to pay 12% of their insurance with the county picking up 88%. This represents a 2%-4% increase for the employees share.

Commissioners also passed a 1.6% raise for all employees except elected officials and those employees who will be eligible for the sheriff's department new 25-55 retirement plan per the sheriff's agreement not to request any raises if the new retirement plan passed which it did last month.

Another issue for the commissioners to address was a request from Chancery/Circuit Court Clerk, Lisa Niles, request for additional raises to bring her employees pay to the level of employees in other county departments. According to Ms. Niles and several of her employees, their pay is well under other employees and according to Ms. Niles, it would require an additional $17,000.00 to bring her employees up. Ms. Niles reminded commissioners that she did have the legal right to sue the county if her request was denied. At that, commissioner Earlena Maples stated how wrong she felt it was for an elected to take such action.

Her request was denied when no commissioners made a motion in support of her request. However, commissioner Bob Franke suggested Ms. Niles might be able to find the additional funds for the raises within her current budget. When asked after the meeting if she intended to sue the county for the funding, Ms. Niles stated she most likely would not citing commissioner Frankie's suggestion that she could use other funds in her budget for the raises.