County doesn’t have funding for 4.5 percent employee raise

To the editor:

I hear that the Hancock County Council has approved a 4.5 percent pay raise for all county employees. Meanwhile, Social Security recipients and federal employees have seen their incomes increase 1.7 percent for 2015.

Two years ago, I retired as the human resource manager for Shelby County government. In this role, for the previous 13 years, based on coordination with the county council, I personally developed a pay matrix and then computed the annual salaries for all county employees.This included hourly employees, salaried employees, and sheriff’s merit deputy officers.

During this 13-year period, there were three years when no pay raises were given due to the economy and the implementation of the property tax cap. For the remainder of these years, the most across-the-board pay raise ever approved and given was 2 percent.

Is the Hancock County economy really that much better?

How can the county afford to do this when on June 2, the commissioners voted and approved a bond for $1,999,999 to repair county buildings because they said they did not have enough funds on hand to cover these expenses? It’s my understanding that Hancock County employees have always received a cost-of-living allowance pay raise except one year in which they all still received a $500 bonus.

Taking nothing away from the county employees and the excellent job they do, it doesn’t seem right that they should continue to receive pay raises when most other wage-earners are doing well to retain their current jobs, and pay increases are few and far between.

Before this 4.5 percent pay raise is approved by the county commissioners, they need to do some soul-searching and determine if the county taxpayer can really afford to reward county employees with this much of a pay increase.

Mike Flynn