Clark County commissioners fell silent Tuesday when an order came up at a Fiscal Court meeting to grant six employees of the judge-executive’s office a one-time pay increase of $333.33 each for Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program administrative work.
The last one-time pay increase like this was in 2009, but it was for four employees. This year, custodians were added to the list.
The order says the increase is to compensate employees for administrative support from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011, the end of the federal fiscal year.
Rogers said in 2009 the vote on that pay increase was one that the commission let go by, and members didn’t realize the money could be used for other things.
“From my point of view right now … it was a vote that if I¿had to do over again, I would change,” she said.
She said that, assuming the employees are doing that work through Sept. 30, she has a problem with prepaying them.
Another issue she had with the order was that commissioners haven’t received a listing of overtime that employees have done.
“But it appears to me that this really should be a situation where it falls within their job description,” Rogers said, adding that the pay increase seems like a bonus. “It certainly felt like it could be a morale buster for the other county employees.”
Rogers said her decision to not vote for the order is nothing against the employees, and that they are hard-working and competent.
Smith and Commissioner JoEllen Reed echoed similar concerns about approving the one-time pay increase.
Smith said it was especially hard to find justification for it, because the county has been struggling with what to give its employees, now just granting pay raises through evaluations without the additional cost of living raises like before.
He added that he didn’t know anything about what kind of reports and administrative work the employees do for CSEPP, and that if the work is needed to support the program, maybe the judge’s office should hire a temp.
Reed said she didn’t think enough facts were presented, and she didn’t understand why a custodian would be filling out reports for CSEPP. She, too, referenced the evaluation procedure, saying she didn’t understand why some employees weren’t granted the full 2 percent raise, and giving six employees the additional pay wasn’t fair.
“I was very bewildered when that order came across,” she said. “Why would it take six employees in the judge’s office to fill out reports for CSEPP? It doesn’t make any sense.”
She added that the reason she fell silent when the order came up was because she felt that the silence made her point.
County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said that when the commissioners became silent, he was curious as to why they didn’t want to discuss it, and he was a little surprised since they approved the last one in 2009.
He said his office keeps all the files and records of the program’s expenses, copies of checks and copies of monthly, quarterly and annual reports. He said the office also does the audit process for the program, its payroll administration, insurances, purchase orders, inventory and fixed asset management.
Branham said the one-time pay increase is prompted by CSEPP, because the office thinks county workers should be reimbursed for the work they do, and reimbursement is standard practice for all CSEPP¿counties.