Commission approves pay scale for employees

Commission approves pay scale for employees by David Lias The Clay County Commission approved a wage scale system Tuesday that department heads can use in the future to determine the salaries of county employees.

Commissioner Paul Hasse expressed opposition to the plan. He was unable to sway the opinions of his fellow commissioners, however.

�I looked at this plan, and there�s 49 different grades,� Hasse said. �There�s entirely too many grades for a county this size.�

County Auditor Ruth Brunick reminded the commission that it had already used a similar plan earlier this year to help determine pay increases for the sheriff�s department employees and jailers.

�We have already adopted this scale,� she said.

The wage plan is similar to one used by Minnehaha County. It helps determine the proper pay for an employee based on inflation and the employee�s experience.

�This is not a wage scale for Clay County,� Hasse said. �I think it�s foolish. I don�t think we�re ready for this type of wage scale.�

Brunick said the new wage scale system is an improvement over the way pay raises have traditionally been awarded to county employees. In the past, employees have simply received blanket raises in some instances. The wage scale

allows county department heads to use some discretion in awarding salary increases based on such factors as inflation and work experience.

Hasse requested data from Brunick, including the county�s total wages, health insurance and retirement costs. He also asked for figures that will show what the new wage scale will cost the county.

Brunick agreed to supply the data.

Commissioner Todd Christensen said the new wage scale will probably mean county employees will receive hourly pay raises next year that are 30 cents to 40 cents per hour higher than they would normally receive.

�But I think we have to do it to remain competitive,� he said.

In other action, the commission agreed with a suggestion of State�s Attorney Tami Bern, and approved an ordinance that would limit the amount of time people may camp at county campgrounds.

This action was inspired, in part, by the recent actions of a man who completed finishing a jail sentence for sex offenses.

The man had set up a tent, moved in furniture, and even put up a clothesline at Clay County State Park.

Local law enforcement officials noted that there is a playground at the campground where children play, and they feared for their safety. The man was ordered to vacate the campground, and the commission approved an ordinance that prohibits individuals from camping longer than 15 consecutive days within a 30 day period at county campgrounds.

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