Step increases for county employees could be reinstated

Published 6:43 am Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The potential salary freeze for all county employees being discussed with county employee unions may be a “soft” salary freeze instead of a “hard” salary freeze.

While county employees likely won’t receive a cost of living increase, Commissioner David Hillier said the contract being negotiated by the finance committee and the five county unions could include step increases. Such increases would then be reinstated for non-union and elected employees.

“It seems to be a fairness issue,” Commissioner David Hillier said.

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On Nov. 10, the commissioners recommended a salary and step freeze for non-union employees. The commissioners did the same for elected employees on Dec. 15.

However, the county approved a motion Tuesday that would allow the board to reinstate step increases for non-union and elected officials to match the decision of the negotiations between the finance committee and the unions.

“In the event that the negotiations result in a soft freeze as opposed to a hard freeze, this motion is reserving the right of the county to apply that soft freeze for non-union in the spirit of fairness and equity to all county employees,” Oscarson said.

All county employees will receive a similar salary freeze depending on the contract agreement reached with the five unions. If the unions don’t receive step increases, then non-union and elected employees won’t receive the increase.

Mower County Coordinator said the negotiations with the five unions may be completed between the end of January and the end of February.