County employees to receive pay raise

Published 10:32 am Monday, April 9, 2012

The Butler County Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve a 3 percent cost of living raise for county employees.

With the rising cost of goods and services, Sherry Henson has faced a struggle to make her paycheck stretch.

“It’s been tough,” she said. “The cost of things has gone up, but our pay hasn’t.”

Henson, who serves as an administrative assistant with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, had received just one salary increase since she joined the BCSO in 2007. That changed on Monday when the Butler County Commission voted unanimously to approve a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for county employees.

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“It helps a lot,” Henson said. “We won’t have to struggle as much now.”

The raise marks the first pay increase county employees have received since 2008. The 3 percent increase amounts to an expense of $80,000 for the county.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to give our employees a cost-of-living raise,” Commissioner Frank Hickman said. “They haven’t had one in four years, and I don’t know when we’ll be able to do this again, but this will help offset the cost increases of goods and services that they are having to pay out of the checks.”

Melissa Crenshaw, a clerk in the Butler County Probate Office, was “very pleased” to learn of the pay increase.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “It’s been tough lately. The price for our family coverage insurance has gone up, so it’s been almost like we’re losing money from each check. To get this extra money will definitely help.”

Commissioner Jimmy Crum said the pay increase is long overdue, but that the commission was forced to hold off on giving raises in order to avoid eliminating positions due to budget constraints.

“We would have loved to give our employees raises before now, but it was virtually impossible,” he said. “We were striving to keep everyone working. That’s what we were working toward doing. We couldn’t keep everyone and give raises, so we chose to keep everyone working.”

The raise that was approved on Monday does not extend to elected officials. It also does not include County Engineer Dennis McCall. County Administrator Diane Kilpatrick will receive an increase of $2,5000.

With the cost-of-living raise, the Commission also approved salary adjustments within the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. The total for the adjustments will be $17,702.73, and is included in the $80,000 the county has budgeted for the pay increase.

“We had a couple of deputies making so much less that we brought them in line with the others,” Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said.

The BCSO has two administrative assistants and a total of 10 deputies, eight of which are full-time employees of the department.

“We’re very thankful for the raise,” Henson said. “I know this is something (Harden) has wanted to do for a while, and it finally got passed.”