Loyalty and dedication are employee traits that should be rewarded, Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan said as he renewed his call for county employee raises.
And the county commissioners responded by saying they will take a hard look at possible staff compensation later in 2013.
The plea on behalf of those under the jurisdiction of the commissioners came at a recent semi-annual elected officials meeting.
“I told them they had some employees that are dedicated to the job, loyal to the county and to the commissioners,” Mulligan said Tuesday. “And after five years, they should reciprocate that loyalty.”
The courthouse employees not under a union umbrella have gone five years without raises. Several unions have received raises.
However, the deputies union voted to forego raises the past year to help the county make its budget, Sheriff Steve Levorchick said in an earlier interview.
Mulligan began his campaign on behalf of staff last fall when the budget hearings began but the commissioners - worried about a tight budget – decided to not raise employee wages.
Mulligan said a couple of things caused him to make another pitch.
“With the sales tax not being challenged and things looking a little better, I thought I would bring it up again,” the prosecutor said. “They had already prepared a budget for 2013 without the sales tax (money),” Mulligan said.
A 0.25 percent permanent hike in the county sales tax was approved by the commissioners in February. There were no referendum challenges filed at the board of elections regarding the decision, Mulligan said.
There had also been fears that sales tax system changes proposed by Gov. John Kasich would invalidate the new tax as of July 1. But the proposed changes have already been dropped in the Ohio House and it’s uncertain what other changes will be enacted, said Commissioner Jodi Regal, vice president of the commissioners’ board.
“We’re just not sure where things stand on the state level at all,” she said.
Regal acknowledged that commissioners have agreed to give raises or a one-time bonus another consideration. Still, she stressed, nothing is guaranteed.
Mulligan agreed to work with county administrator Daniel Jensen, Human Resources Director Pam Courtney and county auditor Larry Hartlaub to come up with some creative proposals.
“We have to review our contracts, make sure all our bases are covered before we do anything. We’re willing to look at options. But nothing is set in concrete. Nothing has been decided,” Regal said.
Mulligan said the idea will likely be explored for several months.
He said commissioners indicated, should there be some compensation coming, it might occur around July 1, a half-way point of the county’s fiscal budget.
Regal, however, would not talk specific dates.
“Again, nothing is concrete,” she said.