Washington Evening Journal

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2017

Supervisors set jailors’ wages Tuesday

By Xiomara Levsen | Jul 30, 2014

A third work session on jailers’ wages at the Washington County Jail was held during the Washington County Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.
Washington County Chief Deputy Jared Schneider came back with a proposal for the supervisors using the five-year step plan matrix Washington County Richard Young handed out at last week’s work session.
The starting rate proposed by Young was $14.34 an hour and the ending rate would be $19.79 an hour. Schneider said he figured an additional 2 ½ percent pay increase on top of Young’s pay scale.
“So this hourly rate has a percentage built in from whatever directive is given?” Washington County Supervisor Steve Davis asked. “Or would that be considered on top of this later—you know when the supervisors set a directive?”
Yes, Schneider said, that was built into the proposal he gave them.
Washington County Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. asked Schneider and Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar the final result for percentage wage increases would be for current employees using their proposed plan.
“Jack, we didn’t figure that,” Dunbar said.  “What we looked at is where do these people need to be, to be comparible with other counties — that’s what we looked at. It didn’t really matter where they fell as far as percentage, to me as we need to get these people to a competitive wage like everybody else.”
The plan Schneider submitted Tuesday surpassed the plan he submitted to the supervisors on July 15, Seward said.
“As far as what?” Dunbar asked.
“The top pay,” Seward said. “You’ve got it at $19.55; with today’s plan the one you gave is $19.55. The one you gave us on the 15th of July was $19.11.”
The directive given to Schneider by the supervisors last week was to come up with a plan using Young’s pay scale and that’s what he did, Schneider said.
“I think I made the statement at least two or three times last week that we need to figure out where we wanted to be and how we were going to do that,” Schneider said. “You know, I guess after our discussion last week I felt that most people didn’t disagree with Richard’s pay scale at all, and used that to come up with our plan, as where we need to be and where we’re going to get there is different. We have different people and just need to figure out what their consensus is and move forward.”
Washington County Supervisor Bob Yoder said there were two different thoughts on the wages, percentage versus where the pay needed to be in order to be competitive.
“I’m not really convinced we’ve decide what school of thought we’re going to have,” Yoder said.
Dunbar understood what Yoder said. However, he asked the supervisors to give Schneider and him some directive about where to go because he didn’t want the topic to become a stalemate.
Yoder said he personally agreed with Young’s plan.
Washington County Supervisor Stan Stoops said having longevity at the jail is another item the supervisors should look into. He said from his own personal experience he was told by previous employees they weren’t going back for another shift at the jail.
Yoder asked if the supervisors wanted career jailers or if they wanted to hire the cheapest people. This was another question that needed to be answered.
“I don’t think anybody here is suggesting we want to hire the cheapest people we can find,” Seward said. “I don’t know any of the five of us that is of that opinion.”
Young said the supervisors would either have to decide whether or not they’re going to do a step program or do a 2 percent increase.
“We’ve sit here for three meetings now and yet have to give a directive to these guys [who have] asked where do we start, where do we end,” Young said. “Us five guys have got to sit here and tell them where we’re going to start and we’re going to end and that’s not being done. We could come up with every program in the world. I could come up with 10 more steps. We’ve got to get off the hanging up of the 2 percent versus the step because the step is going to be more than the directive always.”
The supervisors needed to look at the step wage increase program and not the percentage of raises because this would just become another argument, Young said. They needed to decide what the beginning and top wage would be.
Seward asked if anybody thought having $19 as a top wage for a jailer would be out of line.  
Stoops asked Dunbar what he thought the top salary was worth for a jailer who had experience and was in a supervisor role.
“I guess, to argue, the last 10 years we’ve done the steps and we’re still not catching up and that is a percentage,” Dunbar said. “You’ve got to throw money down upfront in order to get there.”
The jailers wages weren’t where the needed to be compared to what other jailors in surrounding counties are making, Dunbar said.
“That’s what I’m asking,” Stoops said. “What’s it worth?”
Dunbar said $19 would be catching up. He said to be competitive with other counties’ jailor wages on July 1, 2014, they would need to be somewhere around $19.50 to $20 for the top wage, but this wouldn’t include the shift supervisors.
Young suggested having the ending wage at $19.68. He asked Dunbar if their budget could handle that if the directive were given to them to do so.
Dunbar said yes because the jail wasn’t fully staffed. There are 15 full-time employees, including the jail administrator, two regular part-time employees, and some seasonal jailors. Currently there are three full-time employee positions open.
After more discussion about what the ending wage should be, a motion was made to come out of the work session and to go into a regular session.
Young made the motion to have a starting wage of $14.34 an hour and the ending wage of $19.65 an hour, according to Washington County Auditor Dan Widmer. The motion was approved unanimously with the understanding that this would be done over a three-year budget period. The starting and ending rate could increase depending on the budget directives given to the sheriff’s department from the Board of Supervisors.

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