Chesterton Tribune

County Council blocks wage hikes

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By AL BODIE

At its meeting Tuesday the Porter County Council blocked proposed wage increases, even though employees’ workloads have been expanded.

The added duties are the result of department restructuring and revisions of job descriptions. Although the Council denied the wage increases, members did acknowledge that some of the raises might be appropriate. The council members cited poor timing for the denial.

Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder was the first to ask the Council to consider granting an increase for one of his employees. Snyder asked that the council approve a merit increase for his deputy, Daniel Timm, of $5,000 annually.

In his request, Snyder stated that Timm recently earned the state required Level 2 certification. In addition, Snyder said, Timm has done much to help the department meet its goals.

Snyder told the council that restructuring of the department saved the county over $120,000, more than enough to cover the requested raise.

Timm—who became chief deputy in January—oversees the department’s budget and manages staff and payroll. Snyder told the council because of Timm’s work “he [Snyder] is allowed to go out and do the assessor job.”

“There is not another deputy in this building who has to be certified or with as important of a job as his,” Snyder added.

Not moved by Snyder’s presentation, the council approved the assessor’s restructuring plan but denied awarding a pay increase to the assessor’s deputy.

In denying the request council member Jim Polarek, R-4th, said Timm “is already the second highest paid deputy in the building.”

Council President Dan Whitten, addressing Snyder and other department heads in attendance, said that this and future wage and salary increases will only be heard during the budget process.

Following Snyder’s unsuccessful request, County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, came before the council, requesting a pay increase for a person who is now required to do additional work because of a revised job description.

Evans asked the council to consider a request to change the salary of a groundskeeper position from $26,473 to $30,473. Evans said the additional $4,000 was to compensate the employee for his expanded duties. The job description change, Evans explained, is part of the department restructuring.

Evans reminded the council that it had previously approved the new job description. “Not only is he still a groundskeeper, he also is a mechanical assistant now,” he said.

Evan’s request was similarly denied

Whitten said that many other county employees have had their work added to their job and that they are not asking for an increase. “There are many of them who have gone beyond the call of duty on their jobs and they also must wait for any increase considerations.”

Other Business

The council approved a request to appropriate $20,000 to repair and maintain 52 emergency alert sirens located throughout the county. Some of the operational sirens date back to World War II.

It allocated $75,000 in donations to support the expenses of County animal shelter.

The council also asked that, in time for its next meeting, the shelter director provide estimated costs of hiring a full-time veterinarian.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 24, in Room 205 of the Porter County Administration Center, 105 Indiana St. in Valparaiso.

 

 

Posted 4/27/2011