“This particular plan recognizes the performance of our employees, what they do, how hard they work and what they contribute, so they can be rewarded,” he said. “It also lets this board react to the economy and the outside financial factors that consistently drive our budget.”
Commissioner Cindy Carpenter said raises were out of line when she was first elected to the board of commissioners.
“We did have tremendous increases in our personnel appropriations and no control of that,” she said. “From a budgetary standpoint it is the right thing to do.”
For years, large raises — some as high as 60 percent — were commonplace and the county budget could not sustain the expense. Mass layoffs during the recession were necessary to make ends meet.
Performance pay has been a tough issue for the county, especially because the bulk of its employees are unionized. But during the past two years, Butler County has negotiated some component of performance pay into 10 of its 14 union contracts.
Human Resources Director Jim Davis said he continues talking to unions and other groups outside the commissioner’s control, championing performance pay. He said getting salaries right-sized is no easy task, but he believes they have come very close to the best possible pay plan they can.
“Trying to find that sweet spot, we’ve got our base pay adjustment in place that’s keeping in line with our revenues and our cost of living,” Davis said. “We’ve also got this additional amount we can use to reward strong performance, ensuring that we’ve got the folks there that can deliver high quality service to the public.”