Greene County leaders to give workers 2-percent bonus

Greene County government workers will receive a 2-percent bonus in November, a move in part designed to keep staff, county leaders said. STAFF
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Greene County government workers will receive a 2-percent bonus in November, a move in part designed to keep staff, county leaders said. STAFF

A better economy and staff turnover are among the reasons county officials will offer one-time payment.

Greene County commissioners cited a booming economy and the need to slow employee turnover in justifying a bonus for hundreds of county workers in their first paychecks next month.

Commissioners on Thursday afternoon approved a resolution to provide permanent non-bargaining employees 2 percent of their annual pay in a lump sum added to their Nov. 9 paychecks, a $208,156 expenditure from the general fund, according to county records.

“We have a healthy general fund carry-over balance due mostly to our staff doing more with less. We’ve been understaffed. We’ve had turnover,” said Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson.

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Elected officials will have the option to provide the same to their employees as well.

The county’s budget has a carry-over of approximately $23 million in unencumbered funds for next year, according to records.

Huddleson said that, for several years following the recession of about 10 years ago, employees did not receive pay raises, and at one time workers were furloughed to save money.

“We’ve asked our employees to do a lot. Now that we’re in a position to share some back, we’d like to be able to reward them for the work that they’ve done,” he said.

The county is among the top employers in Greene County, but there are fewer people in Greene County’s public service than a year ago.

County records show there are currently 1,070 people on the payroll. That’s 101 fewer employees than last year, according to the county’s December 2017 financial report.

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The cash carry-over is the result of good management of tax dollars with “cooperation and collaboration with elected officials and department heads,” said Commission President Tom Koogler.

Koogler said he hopes the 2-percent bonus will help keep quality workers from leaving.

“The good news is our economy is doing great. The bad news is we’re having a hard time keeping people,” Koogler said. “You have a private sector now can afford to pay more than the public sector can because they’re able to pass it on to their customers. We don’t have that same luxury.”

Commissioner Alan Anderson agreed, citing the declining unemployment rate in the county and overall in the Miami Valley, which makes competing with the private sector more difficult.

The unemployment rate dropped from nearly 11 percent in 2009 to below 4 percent in 2017.

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“I think it’s just a bare amount that we may need to keep our employees,” Anderson said. “They might be stolen away from us by somebody else.”

Some positions that are vacant are not being filled.

Greene County Treasurer David Graham said when he took office in 2011, he had 23 employees. Now, he has 13 employees in his office, a drop partly attributable to technology that is eliminating jobs, Graham said.

Vacancies exist in other departments, including two that have been unfilled for nearly two years in the building inspection department, according to Huddleson.

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