"It's not fair..."
"It's like a slap in the face..."
"Everybody need the same opportunity for the same wage..."
These are some of the statements from disgruntled Cherokee County Department Heads who held a general discussion with the Cherokee County Supervisors on Tuesday over wages paid County employees.
Many of the Department Heads vented their frustrations to the Board regarding wages and recent wage adjustments at the Cherokee County Courthouse as was reported in the April 20 issue of the Chronicle Times.
At issue were the recent salary increases and employment incentives for several new county and some existing employees.
Recently appointed Cherokee County Conservation Director Chad Brown began the discussion with the Board by saying that it sends the wrong message to County employees and it's an integrity issue that some people get more than others.
"Everybody needs the same opportunity for the same wage and they (the Board) should take a hard look at their recent actions." said Brown.
Brown said he wanted this discussion with the Board, as he stated "it's bad for morale at the Courthouse" and wanted everyone to get pass this.
Brown suggested that the County Heads receive a copy of the Supervisors Minutes so it's not such a shock reading it in the newspaper.
Cherokee County Treasure Hedgie Brandt said, "It's not fair. What do I tell my employees that have been working here for years. Someone new comes along and gets more than someone who has been here more than 30 years. It's like a slap in the face, they ask me why I'm not fighting for them."
Cherokee County Sheriff Dave Scott expressed his frustration by saying, "Why should someone that's doing an election make more than a deputy? A deputy pulls over a car at 1:30 in the morning with four guys in it. Regardless if it ends well or not, there's always a pucker factor. Someone who works 9 to 5 in an office shouldn't make the same wage as that."
Supervisor Chairman Dean Schmidt stated the following to the group, "The people at the Courthouse are excellent employees. The wages that have been offered are to retain the quality of people here. If we don't offer a competitive wage, were going to lose."
Supervisor Mark Leeds said to Scott, "How many applicants do you get when looking for a deputy, 20? There's not that many applicants coming forward to apply for an accounting job, we get maybe three."
Supervisor Terry Graybill added, "Everybody is focusing on if people deserve an increase or not. It's simple. If we don't offer these wages and attract these folks to our County, they will go someplace else. If they have the education and the skills to fill these jobs, this is what we have to do."
Brandt also stated, "These wages reflect that one office is more important than another. There should be a fairer way for people to climb the ladder if they put in their time here. I can't just come in here and ask for raises for my employees."
"Why not?" asked Schmidt.
"I'm not budgeted for it, that's part of the problem. You always give out these salaries after our budget is submitted."
"Hedgie, we can always amend the budget," answered Graybill.
Schmidt continued, "If you can show someone in your office deserves a wage increase, come in and state your case. Department Heads should bring us their recommendations."
"I didn't know I can do that," said Brandt.
Cherokee County Services Director Lisa Langlitz stated that she was unaware of the divisiveness within the Courthouse but said, "I really don't care what other people's salaries are. As far as I'm concerned, it's nobody's business. I worry about my department, but since the Board has opened the door, I will be back, that's for sure."
The discussion soon broke up after many of the Department Heads left the meeting due to the approaching lunch hour.
In other business on the Board agenda on Tuesday, was a meeting with Mark Hecox, Sherree Hausmann and Steve Thomas who requested $50,000 from the Board for the proposed new Spring Lake Yacht Club in Cherokee. The Board kicked around several ideas about funding requests but tabled the issue until a future date.
Cherokee County Human Resources Director brought the Board an employee final payout for Cherokee County Jailer Pam Wetherell. The payout was for the amount of $2,041 and was approved by the Board.
Dave Driggs, Maintenance at the Cherokee County Courthouse, continued his talk with the Board on getting a new yard tractor for the Courthouse to replace an aging lawn mower.
Driggs is currently gathering prices from area business on a new yard tractor with attachments that can remove snow in the winter time, along with getting price quotes from area lumber yards for a new maintenance shed at the Courthouse.
The Board tabled the issue until next week.