Wage increases still an issue with county

Wage increases still an issue with county by David Lias The issue of pay raises among employees of Clay County may not completely be settled yet.

At least that's one of the messages the Clay County Commission received at its meeting Tuesday morning.

County Highway Superintendent Art Leifgen told commissioners that his crew was unhappy after reading a news report in the Jan. 15 issue of the Plain Talk.

At its Jan. 12 meeting, the commission agreed to raise the salary of part-time jailers from $6 per hour to $7.94 per hour. That's an increase of 32.3 percent. Full-time jailer wages were increased by 19 percent, from $7 per hour to $8.34 per hour. Head jailer Matt Broderson's pay was increased from $9.68 per hour to $12.20 per hour. That's an increase of 26 percent.

The commission also approved raises for deputies in the county sheriff's department that represented increases ranging from 12 percent to approximately 19 percent.

Leifgen said his department's workers were upset that their wage increases weren't comparable to what was received by the sheriff's department and the jailers.

Commission Chairman Jerry Sommervold told Leifgen that the commission made its decision based on data presented by Sheriff Dusty Passick.

"We used their formula for job classifications and salaries," Sommervold said.

Leifgen said county's head jailer will earn over $5,000 this year compared to last.

"He's also changed jobs," Sommervold said. "He's also a deputy now. About eight or nine months ago he began working as a deputy (in the sheriff's department) besides being just a jailer."

Leifgen told the commission of the wages typically earned by highway crews employed by area counties. He said Union County's highway department works 50 hours weekly, so its highway employees typically earn individual pay of between $26,000 and $28,000 annually.

Commissioner Todd Christensen suggested that the county study the issue further. His fellow commissioners expressed support for that idea.

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