County workers to get more in checks PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Friday, 08 March 2013 10:41
It's not even close to Christmas, but it may feel a bit like it for Wood County employees.
For the first time in recent history, the Wood County Commissioners have taken the unexpected action of giving their 800 or so employees a mid-year pleasant surprise in their paychecks.
The commissioners sent out letters Thursday notifying employees of a one-time 0.5 percent lump sum payment based on their 2012 wages.
The action was taken in an attempt to treat county employees equitably, according to Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar.
Kalmar explained that in December the commissioners granted 1.5 percent raises to county employees for this year. The county had offered the same amount to the collective bargaining unit at the sheriff's office. The union, however, requested 5 percent raises - which the county rejected.
A factfinder said the sheriff's raises should be 3 percent - which the commissioners also rejected, so the issue went to binding arbitration.
In the end, the result was a 1.5 percent raise and a 0.5 percent lump sum for the sheriff's office collective bargaining unit.
"That ultimately won the day," Kalmar said.
So the commissioners decided to extend that same lump some payment to their other employees.
According to Kalmar, this is the first time the commissioners have taken such action during the middle of the year.
He added that in the arbitration report, it was noted that the county always tries to remain consistent in its pay raises for employees.
"I believe the commissioners felt that was a good policy to continue," Kalmar said.
The 0.5 percent lump sum payments granted this week add up to approximately $81,000. Adding in the sheriff's pay increases, with lump sum payments and PERS included, the total is approximately $172,000, according to Joe Fawcett, assistant county administrator.

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