Press Editorial: Raises for all a bad callStark County commissioners approved the budget last week, which is never an easy task.
Stark County commissioners approved the budget last week, which is never an easy task.
It’s tough to keep a number of departments running without taking the easy way out and bumping up funds for each.
The county’s 2009 budget is $12.3 million and commissioners set the 2010 budget at $13.1 million, which shouldn’t mean much of an increase on residents’ property tax bills, the county auditor said last week.
The board decided not to increase employees' salaries by $100 a month, which is a wise move. However, we don’t agree with another salary-related decision.
Board members decided that everyone, except commissioners and some Social Services employees, will get equal raises. Hats off to commissioners for not raising their own stipends but let’s look at the 4 percent increase they decided everyone else should get.
We’re not suggesting that anyone who works for the county is getting rich, but neither are most of those who work in the private sector. There are no contracts that say county employees are entitled to a raise.
Sure, some people are motivated to work hard and will stand out in their endeavors no matter the size of the paycheck. But it can be a slap in the face to say the person who is sneaking off to play on the computer all afternoon will get the same raise as the guy or gal who is busting their butt to get work that needs to be done, done.
Why not reward hard work? Why not base raises purely on merit? Each position and employee should be evaluated on his or her value to the county and their job performance. We’re sure there are many county employees who deserve more than 4 percent, and maybe some that don’t deserve 1 percent.
Many area businesses' employees are on wage freezes, cut hours or are laid off right now. Those employees would be happy with a 1 percent raise.
Four percent is quite a hefty raise that only those going above and beyond at the county level should see.
Many residents struggle to pay bills and this is one more place the county could cut. What happens next year — another 4 percent raise? County employees had been getting 5 percent raises for the last few years, a commissioner said.
A lot of people would be happy to have a government job right now and filling posts at the county level wouldn’t be too hard of a task. If they aren’t performing, now is a good time to look for employees who would appreciate and work hard for the taxpayers. Make all employees work for their paychecks like everyone else and certainly don’t give them a raise just for the heck of it.
Maybe we are way off base and all county employees are doing an exceptional job and deserve it. But blanket raises don’t offer a fair reward for those county employees who do go the extra mile, nor do they help supervisors motivate their workers.
— The Dickinson Press Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues important to the community.