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August 22, 2013

County budget pitches include raises

The opening proposals for the Daviess County budget has most officials asking for pay raises for their employees. The County Council budget hearing Wednesday saw office holders requesting raises ranging from one thousand to $1,500 for all full time workers.

"I am requesting a $1,500 raise for my employees to improve morale and to keep good people," said county Clerk Sherri Healy. "It takes time to learn the job and I want to keep them."

County Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius also requested raises for road workers. "We lost two good people last year and it was all about money," Cornelius said.

The Prosecutor's office and Sheriff's office both requested flat one thousand dollar annual increases. Officials say that when insurance costs went up last year that the employees take home pay actually dropped.

"I looked at a realistic number," said Prosecutor Daniel Murrie. "I wanted them to get back their net pay plus a little. It's really about a $300 or $400 raise."

Several officials say that because of unfunded mandates from the state they are also seeing their workload increase. "We are doing more reports than ever," said Auditor Gail Doades. "I can't commend my staff enough. They stay late and get the work done."

While nearly all of the officials were asking for flat dollar increases for salaries, county Treasurer Elaine Wellman took a different approach. She proposed a 5 percent across the board raise for all employees in her office. "I'm just looking to off-set the money they lost with the health insurance increase."

State changes may also mean that at least one courthouse position will have to go to full time. Veterans Officer Grant Chambers told the council the Indiana Department of Veterans wants all county officers to be accredited by the Veterans Administration. Chambers says that will mean he will have to go through additional training, upgrade some of the equipment in his office and go from part-time to full-time.

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