Since Hamilton County has extra cash in its reserve, County Councilman Meredith Carter wants to correct a financial problem with employees. Between now and the end of the year, Carter has requested the personnel committee meet with all county department heads to discuss a one-time equity adjustment to take place in January.
“Many employees have expressed disappointment in inequities,” fellow council member Steve Schwartz said. “We have the cash; let’s take care of it all at once.”
Carter said the inequities have risen since the downturn in the economy when employee salaries were frozen for several years. The county also started rehiring for some positions that were left vacant. In one scenario, Schwartz said an eight-year veteran dispatcher being paid $32,000 was training a new dispatcher making $42,000.
“We’re trying to fix those we have throughout the departments,” he said. “We need to go back and fix the inequities. We have great people here – doing the same job that need somewhat like pay.”
Schwartz said the financial impact is anticipated to be $1 million. He said it would be a base salary bump. Any increases would not be a part of the council’s previous approval of a 5 percent salary increase for employees and performance bonus.
“We’d like to get everybody to where they should be,” he said.
Sheriff Mark Bowen also received news that he would be receiving more money for his department. Bowen, who originally asked for a 3 percent cost of living increase, was granted a 4.5 percent increase by the Hamilton County Council on Oct. 2 so it more closely mirrored the 5 percent increase to other county employees.
“It’s very nice. We’re very fortunate,” he said, adding it has been tough having four to five years of no increases.
Like other county employees, Bowen said sheriff’s office personnel will receive performance pay bonuses based on their annual evaluations. The expected cost for the sheriff’s office salary increase is $150,343.34.