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WJBD - Local News - Marion County Board Rejects Pay Increases and Back Pay for Non-Union Employees

Marion County Board Rejects Pay Increases and Back Pay for Non-Union Employees

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Marion County Board, on a split vote, has rejected pay increases and back pay for non-union employees.  The decision came after the board turned down an amendment that would have given the same $500 to union members for a year in which employees previously received no increase.  

The rejected resolution also contained a 30-cent an hour raise for part-time employees and $750 pay raises for the current fiscal year for the jail administrator, a legal assistant at the public defenders office and one clerical position apiece at the county clerk and probation office.   

Labor's Union representative Joe Hill told the board it was unfair to exclude union members from the $500 payment.  "At the table we had agreed that due to the fact that the county was having financial difficulties and everything else, we agreed that if everybody in the county would go a year without a pay increase, the same with what we already had, then we would accept the proposal that was on the table.  We bargained this in good faith", said Hill.

Board member Louie Fogleman agreed and presented an amended motion.  "As far as I'm concerned, everyone at the courthouse deserves more money than what they are making.  They're all underpaid and overworked.  We have a lot of quality people working all through the courthouse and in Marion County.  Unfortunately we can't pay them what they're worth, but we should keep everybody on a fair and equal basis", said Fogleman.  

When asked where the money would come from, Fogleman said if they could afford to go over budget to pay the attorney that helped the county with negotiations they could afford to pay their employees out of the contingency fund.  Board member Dr. Creighton Engel wasn't so quick to dismiss the budget concerns.  

"If we've got an expanding deficit, and we haven't reduced the deficit yet, you've got to get your deficit down first before you do anything else, and to me, I think you have to look at the budget as a whole, see if you can cut areas there, and then you can come back and afford to give raises.  But if you don't have the money, all you're doing is keep digging a hole.  That's what the state and the federal government has done, and we're no different", said Engel.  

Fogleman's amendment to provide the $500 back pay to all employees failed on an 8-6 vote with one member passing.  A vote on the original resolution that included the back pay and salary increases for non-union employees was rejected on a nine to six vote.  While the employees in the circuit clerk's office are non-union, they already received a raise for the current year through money Circuit Clerk Ronda Yates had in her budget.  

Yates reported to the board Tuesday night her employees have been placed into different classifications that will result in some getting additional pay raises through fees collected in her office.  

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