published: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Board to consider bonuses for county workers
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- Highlands County Administrator June Fisher wants to put a lump in at least some county workers' stockings for Christmas, but it isn't coal. She will ask county commissioners at their Tuesday morning meeting to approve a one-time lump sum "special pay" for eligible workers.
However, it is unclear whether or not the practice will be a one-time occurrence or an annual affair, as Fisher is asking the commission to amend the board's pay plan, Chapter II of the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Personnel Rules and Regulations. The proposal would cost taxpayers just over $200,000.
If commissioners give the go-ahead, $141,892.33 of the money would be taken from the General Fund Reserve -- or "rainy day" money, as it has been called -- with some $60,660.97 coming from other funds.
The re-distribution of money would see a $400 payment to workers earning $35,000 annually, those earning between $35,000-$50,000 would get a $300 bonus, with a $200 check cut to those earning upwards of $50,000.
In her memo, Fisher reminded commissioner it had been the practice of the board to also fund constitutional officers for any increase to employees, meaning the cash also would be given to workers at the Sheriff's Office, the Supervisor of Elections, the County Clerk of Courts staff and those employed by the Property Appraiser's office.
Responding to a call for citizen input from Commissioner Don Elwell, there seemed to be resistance to Fisher's plan. Several of the respondents pointed out that although county workers had not received a raise in four years, there are many in the private sector, including nurses and doctors, who also had not received raises. Moreover, in the private sector there have been numerous layoffs throughout the county during that time. This year's budget was constructed with no currently held positions lost.
During the struggle to balance the budget, commissioners cut aid to all outside organizations and took several other stringent measures to get to the desired number. The commission also resisted a move to raise the property tax level to meet the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
In other action at their Tuesday session, commissioners will formally meet new Highlands County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Stephen C. Weeks and will hold a discussion on biennial budgeting for the county.
County Bonus (by: Puddin' Pop - 12/18/2012)
would school board employees also get this? ya know, since they too are technically a "county employee"?
"Special Pay" (by: Chris Kringle - 12/17/2012)
Why is this special? If the county collected too much taxes and now has all this money lying around that they did not plan to use, why not just send a $5 check back to every taxpayer from where this money was collected? It could be the county's way of saying thanks to the taxpayers and letting us put something in our own stocking.
Avon Park did it right (by: Adrian - 12/16/2012)
Avon Park allowed its employees to collect up to 40 hrs each of their own vacation and sick time. It may not have been a raise, but for many it would have been until they retired that they would have seen any of that money.
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