Posted: 7:00 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013


More than $1M requested in raises

By Denise G. Callahan

Staff Writer


Butler County office holders and other department heads so far have asked county commissioners to approve more than $1 million in raises, not including the $356,000 that Prosecutor Mike Gmoser says he will need to bring his assistant prosecutors up to a competitive compensation level.

Round two of budget hearings were held this week, and County Administrator Charlie Young said some people plugged the suggested 2 percent raise into their budgets, while others asked for more or nothing at all.

“My initial feeling is that the requests would leave us higher than we can sustain,” he said. “But I don’t know that yet, we haven’t seen all the requests to know what is in and what is not yet in the budget requests.”

Some of the increases are contractual, like the sheriff’s office, and therefore are a given as far as approval goes. Some office holders asked for slightly more than the 2 percent suggestion, including the Domestic Relations Court where judges would like a 3 percent raise for their employees.

“This is our first increase in five years,” said Court Administrator Annette Lolli. “I’ve had people starting out at $25,000, and I don’t know how they are doing it. We have many people working two jobs after hours, just to get by.”

The Common Pleas Court proposed last week a budget that was 2 percent less than 2013, but the judges asked for $334,144 in salary increases for their employees. Many employees were penciled in for pay hikes in the mid-teens, with the highest request at 18 percent.

The common pleas and domestic relations court judges all said they have lost good employees to the private sector, and they need to staunch the flow.

Clerk of Courts Mary Swain said she, too, is losing staff to the private sector. She is asking for a 2.5 percent pay bump for her employees.

“The staff is woefully underpaid; salaries that are akin to pathetic,” she said.

Auditor Roger Reynolds’ budget has raises plugged in for most people, but some employees have topped out of their salary range so their pay is frozen. The other raises were based on performance, he said, something he instituted when he was elected.

“We pay on performance here,” he said. “It’s something that I started in 2008 when I walked in the door — pay people based on performance and what they bring to the office.”

The commissioners are in the process of developing a merit-based compensation model for employees under their direct control and have suggested other offices follow suit.


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