County Board approves pay raises

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – With the year nearly half gone, the County Board Tuesday approved a budgeted across-the-board 1.57 percent pay raise for non-union employees.

After last month’s tortuous and convoluted debate over the ordinance that ended with it being sent back to committee, the board passed it with little discussion and by a vote of 21-2. Supervisors Fay Uraynar and William Goehring voted against it and Supervisors Kris Wheeler and Libby Ogea were absent.

“I’m not necessarily voting against our employees,” Goehring said in explaining his vote. Instead, he said his concern was with the roughly 60 employees who will still be below the minimum pay for their salary grade even after the raise. “Their raise to where they should be will be put off another six months or so,” Goehring stated.

He was referencing a pending ordinance to adopt a new set of salary ranges for county positions, the result of a study by Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. completed late last year.

That ordinance will create new pay scales that will leave some county employees above the top pay in their range and more below the bottom pay.

“A tremendous amount of work went into the compensation study,” County Administrator Adam Payne noted in his remarks to the board.

He urged board members to approve the pay raises, money for which was included in the 2015 county budget that the board approved unanimously last fall.

The ordinance implementing those pay raises went through several iterations before reaching the board last month as a combination of wage hikes and bonuses.

That drew opposition from a number of supervisors and was roundly defeated by a better than two-to-one margin.

The ordinance was sent back to the Human Resources Committee, which unanimously voted to return it to a straight across-the-board pay raise.

“I hope everyone’s on the same page. I hope you will follow through on (the committee’s) recommendation,” Payne told the board.

Brian Hilbelink of Oostburg was appointed to the 21st District seat on the board, replacing Devin LeMahieu. LeMahieu resigned after he was elected to the state Senate.

Hilbelink, a trustee in the village of Oostburg, took his oath of office Tuesday.

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