Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1106508

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2014

Brock asks for staff to receive 4 percent hike

By Linda Wenger | Jan 24, 2014

Washington County Attorney Larry Brock would like to give his hourly wage staff a 4 percent raise for fiscal year 2014-15. However, three of the five county supervisors want him to adhere to the 2 percent salary increase the board decided on prior to their budget work sessions with department heads.
Brock presented his proposed budget to the supervisors during a work session Thursday morning. He said his overall department budget would increase by 0.48 percent, well under the board’s guideline of a 2 percent overall budget for the county departments.
In a letter to the board, Brock summarized the job duties of the county attorney’s office. His letter states that his office has collected unpaid court debt.
“Since I have been in office, our collection efforts have brought in over $174,000 to the county’s general fund and over $30,000 to our office for a total of over $200,000,” the letter states.
The letter also states, “In addition, during the past 3 years, my office drastically cut the amount of taxpayer money being spent by my office.”
Brock goes on to write that over the last two fiscal years he has cut his budget by a total of nearly $80,000.
Board chairman Steve Davis pointed out that Brock’s proposed hourly wage increase was 4 percent for office assistants Pat Sinn and Alicia Pacha.
“I think it’s justified,” he said to the supervisors. “I think it’s more than appropriate to give them 4 percent.”
The assistant county attorney’s salary will increase from 50 percent of the county attorney’s salary to 55 percent. Assistant county attorney Monica Slaughter will receive a $5,000 raise. Since the assistant attorney’s salary is based on a percentage of the county attorney’s salary, Brock doesn’t need the supervisors’ approval for the raise.
Supervisor Jack Seward asked Brock if he has considered getting a second assistant county attorney.
“I haven’t,” Brock said. “I think between the two of us, we’ve been able to cover everything.”
“I’ve just — thinking about some of the opinions and legal background work that you have to do sometimes isn’t as quick as we’d like to see. That is a thought,” Seward said.
Seward also said, “The mere fact that revenue has increased — collections have increased, I don’t think justifies going outside the 2 percent raise.”
Davis said that some county departments do not generate revenue for the county.
“This isn’t based on revenue,” Brock said. “This is I’ve cut my budget overall.”
Davis also said that some elected officials will be getting 4 percent raises and others 2.4 percent.
Brock said he thinks other department heads will request 4 percent raises for their employees.
“I know the sheriff’s office is going to request 4 percent for their deputies,” he said.
“He’s way under what we asked,” said Supervisor Richard Young. “I have no problem with the overall budget. I see it way within the guidelines.”
Davis agreed. He also asked the other three supervisors for their opinions. Supervisors Stan Stoops, Bob Yoder and Seward said they want to stay with the 2 percent salary increase.
Brock called that opinion “short-sighted.”
“If anybody gets more than 2 percent, I’m going to be asking you why, including the deputies,” Brock said.
He said he had ample justification for his request.
“I don’t have anything more to say,” Seward said.
Davis asked Brock to go back and figure out a 2 percent budget increase. He also said that the supervisors couldn’t vote during the work session, but they could reach a general consensus.
Two other departments have also met with the supervisors.
The county board of health approved the proposed budgets from the Environmental Health Department and Public Health Department during a special meeting at 12 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20.
Environmental Health director Jennine Wolf said her salary line will decrease 9 percent because she isn’t going to hire a third person in her department. She would like to give her assistant Jason Taylor a $1 an hour or a 3 percent increase because of his job performance. She will meet with the supervisors at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Public Health fiscal manager Peggy Wood prepared a budget with 2 percent salary increases and a 2 percent overall budget.
Veterans Affairs executive secretary Sue Rich and Veterans Affairs commissioners Darren Dennler, Jeff Johnston and Terry Philips met with the supervisors Thursday morning. The Veterans Affairs proposed budget included a 2 percent wage increase for Rich. The commission recommended an increase in the number of hours a week for Rich.
The supervisors asked her to redo the budget.
The supervisors have scheduled budget work sessions for next week. The county recorder will meet with them at 10 a.m. Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, they will meet with the county conservation department, secondary roads, and GIS. Wednesday morning they will meet with the sheriff’s office, mental health and the county treasurer. On Friday, Jan. 31, auditor Dan Widmer will present budgets for the medical examiner, non-departmental items, economic development, planning and development and the auditor’s office.

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