Raise for non-elected county employees

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All non-elected Lincoln County employees will be getting an 8 percent raise come July 1.

Dallas Bowe, Lincoln County director of human resources, said the raise excludes union employees, deputies and elected officials. The 8 percent is a $430,000 increase for the county.

There have not been any staff cuts this year, but due to the last five years of employee cuts, people are having to take on additional workloads, she said. The Clerk and Recorder office and the Treasurer office are down to one employee.

“There’s been cuts made throughout the whole entire county,” she said. The cuts have “been gradual over the last five (years).”

Right now, if someone retires from a department with six to seven people in it, the county is not replacing their position.

Darren Coldwell, Lincoln County administrator, said past commissioners tried to cut the budget by cutting salaries and jobs. Employees would normally have had a 1 percent increase in salary every year.

The 8 percent increase is one-time, not annual, he said. Commissioners made it known that the county needs to get back to a standard cost of living adjustment.

“It looks like a big jump, but in reality what we’re trying to do is catch up to where they should be,” he said.

For six years, employees had only received a total of a 1 percent increase in pay, he said. Then, last year, employees got a 7.5 percent increase and now this year, they get one for 8 percent.

Over the eight years, it is still less than a 3 percent increase, he said.

Coldwell said government has always been a place where employees may not get paid the best, but the benefits are good. This is the first year in a long time the county has been able to actually put some money in reserves, Coldwell said.

Lincoln County Attorney Marcia Boris said filling attorney positions in the future could be easier with the new raise. There has been hiring difficulty before, she said.

“People have to want to come here,” she said. There is not a large pool of qualified people in the county.

“Any time you can offer a competitive salary, you can attract more — good quality candidates,” she said.

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