The Allen County Council on Thursday approved pay increases for the county’s clerical staff and confinement officers.
The council voted to raise salaries for both employment categories, ranging from 0.46 percent to 3.49 percent for office employees and from 0.32 percent to 6.66 percent for confinement officers.
When factoring in the typical annual 3 percent raise granted to county employees, the salaries will range from $13.99 per hour to $21.80 per hour after three years. Salaries for confinement officers will range from $16 per hour to $34.78 per hour over the same time period. The reason for the increases is to make the county more competitive with the private sector in recruitment and retention.
It’s the second time the council has considered pay raises for certain county employees. In October, the council approved raises for professional employees and those classified as having positions in labor, trades and crafts.The raises are in response to a study of the county’s pay grids by consulting firm Waggoner-Irwin-Scheele.
The study found salaries for certain county employees were significantly lower than their private-sector counterparts.
Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-1st, said the council disagreed in October on how and when to provide raises for the rest of the positions recommended by Waggoner-Irwin-Scheele.
“But now we see that we have a surplus, we see that we have a need, and I don’t see that there’s really a reason not to,” Tucker said.
Two separate votes were held regarding the raises, one for each employment category. Councilmen Tom Harris, R-2nd and Eric Tippmann, R-at large, voted against the increase for clerical employees. Harris said he voted no because numerous applications are submitted for some open clerical positions, a low rate of turnover and “the fact that we outpace the private sector considerably when it comes to benefits.”
Councilman Bob Armstrong, R-at large, was the sole dissenting vote regarding an increase for confinement officers. Armstrong, who has a relative who works for Allen County Juvenile Corrections, said he voted against the increase because he would have preferred to implement the it over six months, rather than three years.
The changes will be retroactive to Dec. 10, when the first pay period of 2017 began.