Butler County commissioners: Administrator is worthy of raise

Saying Butler County Administrator Charlie Young steered them through some knotty problems last year, the commissioners gave him a two percent bump to his base pay and 2.5 percent in lump sum payments.

Young was making $151,755 last year, with the pay hike his salary goes up to $154,790 plus $3,870 divided into four lump sum payments, he also gets a car allowance of $6,500 annually.

Commissioner Don Dixon said they did not give Young the full amount of the approved raise percentages — three percent is the maximum for both raise categories — because “nobody’s perfect” but they know they have a real asset on their hands.

“There’s always room for improvement. As good as he is, we all just strive to do better. It’s a goal, something to work for…,” Dixon said. “He’s really been a huge, huge asset to the board, to the county. I’ve worked with a number of good administrators and I’ve never worked with one as good as he is.”

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Young scored 48.2 points out of a possible 50 on the performance evaluation the three commissioners gave him. This year the commissioners used an evaluation instrument that is tailored for top level employees, not the form used for other county employees.

The top score was five for excellent, meaning “almost always exceeds the performance standard” to a low of one or “rarely meets performance standard.

There were 10 categories with five components each and Young scored a perfect five for individual characteristics, citizen relations, fiscal management and community. He scored 4.6 for professional skills and status; 4.8 in relations with elected members of the governing body, policy execution, staffing and supervision and 4.4 in the reporting category. He was dinged with an average three rating for getting special reports to the commissioners in a timely manner in that section.

Young is responsible for the $431 million county budget, all county facilities and all departments under the commissioners’ direct control including the commissioners’ office, airport, benefits, care facility, child support enforcement, finance, information services, human relations, job and family and children services, maintenance, economic development, planning and zoning , the solid waste district, records center and water and sewer.

Commissioner T.C. Rogers said one of the bigger contributions Young made last year was in helping to broker a better deal for the new Motorola public safety radio system. Last summer officials almost countywide were taken by surprise when they learned the county needed to replace the emergency radio system and hundreds of now nearly obsolete police and fire radios — to the tune of $19.2 million.

The county was able to renegotiate with the communications equipment giant for $10 million to replace the system and 1,000 radios, instead of 3,100 in the original order.

Rogers said Young’s hand in that and some other deals last year was critical.

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“We had three different multi-million hits that we had to wade through,” Rogers said. “We came out with a very positive result on that with the radios. That was a significant negotiation that allowed us to save millions of dollars.”

According to the Dayton Daily News I-Team Investigation payroll project Young made $160,723 in 2016, including the lump sum payments and car allowance. The same project found Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling made $171,698; Joshua Smith in Hamilton made $164,371 base but $217,676 gross and Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins earned $142,592.

Dixon said he knows Young is underpaid by comparison but it comes with the territory.

“I know he’s probably under the market really, when you look at administrators and city managers,” Dixon said. “But he knew that when we hired him. He was satisfied with that and we feel that the taxpayers are getting a good deal.”

In 2015 the commissioners bumped Young’s salary $20,000 in a lump sum. Young hadn’t seen his pay bumped since he was hired in June 2012. The commissioners, in accord with Young’s hiring agreement, adjusted his starting salary of $125,000 by $12,500 and then gave him what amounted to a 2 percent pay increase per year for the three years he had held the top job. He has earned merit raises ever since.

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