County should understand the reality of private sector jobs

Friday, June 16, 2017

At its June 13 meeting, the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors approved, by a vote of three to one, a 2.25 percent pay increase for non-elected and non-union county employees. The wage for elected officials goes through a separate process involving an independent compensation board.

Dennis Bush was the only dissenting vote on the motion. Supervisor Jeff Simonsen had participated for part of the meeting by phone, but was not available for the vote on the salary increase.

The vote was approved based on a plan to renegotiate the contract with the union to raise the previously negotiated union contract from a 1.5 percent pay raise to a 2.25 percent pay increase.

We agree with the long-standing practice of keeping union and non-union wages equal as a percentage increase. Also, we donít believe that a 2.25 percent increase is unreasonable.

However, we have a problem with the unusual step of increasing wages from a previously negotiated rate.

A member of the audience at the June 13 meeting noted that the 1.5 percent increase might not compensate employees fully for the loss of take-home pay from an increase of the employee portion of an increase in health insurance premiums. Going backward in terms of take-home pay was regarded by this audience member as unacceptable.

We would echo Bushís comment that many people in the private sector have been going backward in terms of take-home pay for years. Also, most private sector jobs donít have built - in longevity increases that are not considered to be part of the percentage increase approved by the supervisors.

Nobody in either the private sector or the public sector can feel immune from the effects of inflation.