County Commission considering pay raises

Published 4:56 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

The Butler County Commission will examine the financial feasibility of a 3-5 percent cost-of-living increases to its employees.

The Butler County Commission agreed on Monday to explore the possibility of providing cost-of-living increases to its employees.

The Commission will examine the financial feasibility of a 3-5 percent increase countywide. It would mark the first cost-of-living increase since 2007 for employees of Butler County.

“I think we should see what it looks like,” Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams said of the potential increase. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to do it, but it means we do the work to take a look and see if it’s possible.”

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Commissioner Frank Hickman expressed concerns about even exploring the possibility of a pay increase for county employees.

“If we float this idea we’re going to raise anticipation and expectations,” he said. “We’re in the worst economy we’ve been in since 2007 and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to be looking at pay raises right now.

“… Every commissioner here would like to be able to give all of our employees raises, but right now the money just isn’t there.”

The Commission made the decision to run the numbers on a possible increase following requests from several department heads seeking salary increases for their employees.

Among those was Butler County Jail Administrator Al McKee. McKee requested a 10 percent increase for all employees and an additional 5 percent raise for four employees.

“I think (the commission) should look at the other counties around us and get a baseline for what these employees should be paid,” McKee said.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden and County Administrator Diane Kilpatrick also requested cost-of-living increases for their employees.

Harden asked for a 10 percent raise for all employees of the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, while Kilpatrick asked for a 5 percent increase for her employees.

McWilliams stressed to the department heads present at Monday’s meeting that the Commission’s main concern given the current financial climate is keeping people employed.

“We understand that our employees need raises, and certainly deserve raises, but with the situation we’re in financially it’s going to difficult for us to do that,” McWilliams said. “I think keeping people in jobs is the most important thing to this commission. We don’t want anyone to lose his or her job.”

No timetable was given by the Commission for reporting its findings concerning the possibility of providing cost-of-living increases to its employees.