Supervisors continue jailer wage discussion
The Washington County Supervisors discussed the jailers’ wages for the fourth week in a row at their meeting Tuesday morning.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar began the discussion by telling the supervisors his department has come up with a three year plan based on a beginning wage of $14 and $19.65 for an ending wage, as directed by the supervisors from the last meeting.
Washington County Supervisor Steve Davis said he saw where the low wage came into place for the plan but asked Dunbar where the high wage came in.
Dunbar said this year the department wouldn’t be able to reach the $19.65. He said Jared Schneider included a 2 percent wage increase in the plan, which would bring the department to the high wage by 2016.
“But that’s if we do 2 percent,” said Washington County Supervisor Richard Young. “It could change.”
There was some confusion when jail employees’ wages would be increased. Young asked Dunbar if the increases were based on anniversary dates or if they were based on the Jan. 1 and July 1 dates. Dunbar said it would be based on the dates of Jan. 1 and July 1.
“So then they’ll jump up on 1/1 [Jan. 1] to the first-year pay scale, ‘cause right now they’re not there,” Young said. “See what I mean?”
If someone has only been hired for four months they wouldn’t jump up to the first year’s pay, Dunbar said. They wouldn’t get there until after the next six months in the pay period is completed.
Another reason for having wage increases every six months is because it wouldn’t cost as much upfront, Dunbar said. This would help the county balance out the wage increases and would go with the budget unless the department was given another directive. It would also take five years for a new employee to reach the top pay.
Young asked how long it would take existing employees under the proposed plan to reach $19.65.
Washington County Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said it would only take three budget periods for existing employees to get there.
Young said this was why he was asking the question about whether or not the wage increases were based on anniversary date or the July 1 date. He said under the proposed wage plan from the sheriff’s department someone hired June 1 could get a wage increase on July 1, which is why he wanted more discussion on this.
“Well, in the interest of getting all of this out, too, I have asked for and have not received information regarding the individuals,” Seward said, “what this is going to mean to the individual as far as the pay increase, the percentage increase, because that’s what started this whole thing off to begin with.”
Seward held up a proposed payroll sheet for the jailers he had.
“This is what I want to know,” Seward said. “What’s the percentage increase and what’s the dollar-an-hour increase? What’s it going to mean? What are we voting on here?”
The pay scale the supervisors received from Jared Schneider, chief deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, last week only has a 2.4 percent increase, Seward said. His question about what the actual increases would be for each individual had yet to be answered and he said he would vote no on the proposal because he didn’t get an answer.
Dunbar said he wasn’t asked for that information until last Thursday. He also said they already explained to the supervisors last week that was a form they didn’t produce but Seward could do his own calculations using the form Dunbar submitted to them.
“We followed the directive of the board, and here it is,” Dunbar said. “I don’t know what else to do.”
If Seward wanted to see the overall money it would cost, Dunbar said he would be able to show him that.
“That’s not the point,” Seward said. “The point is the thing that started this whole thing off was the 8, 10, 12 percent pay raises. That was the big thing that raised the flag and why we started talking about this and now if we’re going to something else that’s going to make 8, 10, 12, 14 percent pay raises—I don’t think we can afford this.”
Young said he thought last week the supervisors approved the step with a low wage and a top wage. Then they could fill in the blanks for what each individual employee wage increase would be and it could be more than 2 percent because of the wage step they approved before.
Seward said he understood this but he wanted to make sure every body knew what the cost was for the 13 jailers for the step increase and what the percentage of raises would be.
Washington County Supervisor Stan Stoops asked Dunbar if the supervisors could get the information Seward was asking for. Dunbar said it would take a while because Schneider was in Des Moines Tuesday and was taking the three days off after that.
Washington County Treasurer Jeff Garrett said the auditor’s office used an excel spreadsheet and could plug the information in for Dunbar. Stoops said he would like to have that information before voting for a wage step increase plan and asked for a decision to be held off until next week.
Young said these questions were asked last week. He asked how long they were going to continue to discuss this because he thought a decision had been made the week before.
Seward said if Young wanted to make a motion, then to go ahead. All he was asking for was complete transparency of the cost per individual and what the percentage of wage increases would be for them.
Young suggested using the top line of the auditor’s office form to get Seward’s answer. It would take each individual jailer’s wages and match it with the top line of the spreadsheet with the percentage Schneider proposed. The beginning wage would be $14.
For seven years the wages would increase, according to the spreadsheet from the auditor’s office. The first proposed increase would be to $14.59, the second would be to $15.17, the third would be to $15.76, the fourth would be to $16.35, the fifth would be to $16.94, the sixth would be to $17.52, and the seventh would be to$18.11. The top wage would eventually end up at $19.55.
Young made the motion to use these wage examples for the step program to reflect what the percent of raises would be beginning July 1.
The motion was approved. Stoops and Seward were the dissenting vote. A final decision about each individual jailers wages wasn’t made because it wasn’t on the agenda for this week’s meeting.