Logan County’s Magistrates have heard their department heads claims of low pay and have answered recently with a pay increase across the board to all full-time employees.
In that past several months departments such as the emergency communication center (911), sheriff’s department and detention center have all expressed concern over employee retention and hiring. ECC director Ginger Lawrence, jailer Phil Gregory and sheriff Wallace Whittaker say they have problems finding qualified applicants due to the lack of pay offered.
Because of the obstacle, judge executive Logan Chick created a personnel committee made up of magistrates Jo Orange, Drexel Johnson and Jack Crossley to look into the county’s pay-scale. The committee has been meeting for months and at the Tuesday, May 10 fiscal court meeting recommended a 50 cents per hour raise for all full-time county employees to begin July 1, 2016.
“Our employees are our most valuable asset and we must pay them a living wage for the work they do,” said Orange. “In recent years we have had problems retaining employees at the ECC, the detention center and the sheriff’s department. With that in mind, the committee first looked at surrounding county’s pay and benefits. We worked with percentage pay raises for certain grades and various other changes. We finally selected a simple $.50 an hour raise for all which helped our beginning employees most, but still was a small raise for all employees.”
Orange said the committee decided to change the grade for beginning guards at the detention center to make their classification more in line with their responsibilities and which also will improve their pay. Then the committee added the incentive additional pay for those working the less desirable shifts.
“After all the time and effort the committee spent, we were very happy the changes passed unanimously,” Orange added.
For employees at the detention center, ECC, and the sheriff’s department if they have three shifts, employees will receive an additional 10 cents an hour for second shift and an additional 20 cents an hour for those working third shift. If the shifts are two twelve hour shifts employees will receive an additional 15 cents an hour for working the night shift.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Lawrence. “I very much appreciate the committee and the county for taking this issue seriously. As in any department it is extremely important to have qualified employees. At the ECC we rely on our employees to help the citizens of the county. We want the best of the best on our end of that 911 call to help those who need it most.”
Sheriff Wallace Whittaker said he is grateful as well for the committee and the court’s recent decision to raise pay.
“Our deputies work a lot of hours and they are dedicated to this community. When we have someone complete lengthy training at the cost of the county, we like to be able to keep them employed here instead of going somewhere else. Higher pay helps retain those trained deputies. Plus, they deserve an increase for the hard and dangerous work they do,” said Whittaker.
Jailer Gregory echoed the accolades given to the county by Lawrence and Whittaker.
“One of the first things I noticed when becoming jailer after going over the finances was that the jail staff was under paid compared to other jails in the state,” said Gregory. “The jail staff works really hard and deserve to be paid accordingly.”
Gregory went on to add, “It’s always a good thing when you appreciate your employees. They will work harder for you and want to stay if you respect their dedication and their hard work. The fiscal court spoke this Tuesday loud and clear when they voted to pass the increase in pay. I want to thank the committee for recognizing this.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.