After several weeks of personnel policy discussions and work sessions involving the process for merit raises for county staff, the Butler County Commission began reviewing a final process for the merit pool at their meeting on Tuesday morning.
“After having several discussions with department heads, we’ve finally reached an agreement on a worksheet that will allow us to decipher the modified tiers for the merit pool raises,” began County Administrator Will Johnson. “We created two separate tiers: one for new employees and transfers and one for employees that have been in their position for more than 12 months. We did it this way to take a more honest approach. We believe that if we had left everyone on a single tier, it would have probably pushed departments to overrate employees.”
“How does this work with the current step plan we have been doing?” asked Commissioner Peggy Palmer.
“We’re wiping out completely everything we have had in place,” said Johnson.
“What I’m looking to do would be to give them the yearly raise without increasing their base pay,” said Palmer. “They’re called bonuses and they’re given for good performance for budget reasons.”
“When we decided to not do the COLA, we made the decision to not raise the base for the position,” explained Johnson. “The merit raises the base for the person.”
Palmer was persistent on her preference of a bonus check.
“The department head will pick out a goal for the employee based on their job,” explained Johnson. “This will give the employees a set goal to work on for the year. The department heads will determine a way to judge how well the employees meet that expectations and give a number for it. Every employee will be evaluated on four factors and those include: safety, approach to work, work habits, and interpersonal skills.”
The transition to the new system will not be easy for the county.
“This is going to be tough the first year,” admitted Johnson. “This is a transition. It’s going to be pretty subjective for the first year. They’re going to set goals and expectations for future years.
“The idea is to establish a quarterly meeting with the employees to discuss where they’re at with their goals and where they’re at with their evaluations,” Johnson continued. “The first year will be the the nightmare. After that, I expect my department heads should be fine using the system. The goals and the assessment will be the same for the positions every year.”
Page 2 of 2 - The commission began to show concern over the range of positions the evaluations would cover.
“I’m not comparing the equipment operators interpersonal skills to the interpersonal sills required by a secretary,” said Johnson. “You have to compare them to the job that they’re hired for and have to perform daily. The amount of raises rely on the amount of pay that we’re willing to give to that position.”
“This whole process represents a big step for our organization,” said Commissioner Ed Myers. “I feel it’s worth the trouble.”
The commission also:
• received and opened bids from vendors for a SUV for the Emergency Management Department.
• approved the sale of the 2006 Ford Pickup from the Emergency management Department to Butler County Fire District #3 in the amount of $3,000.
• approved the First amendment agreement with Sedgwick County for housing inmates in the Butler County Adult Detention Facility, which will raise the fee from $30 per day to $35 per day.
• approved the purchase of a replacement tire machine for the south Highway Shop.
• held a work session on the fourth quarter financial report.