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November 19, 2017

11/2/2017 3:00:00 PM
County Council continues discussion on employee pay raises for 2018

The Switzerland County Council met on Wednesday, October 11th, for a regularly scheduled meeting. Council members present inlcuded: Glenn Scott, Elizabeth Jones, Rachel Schuler, Lisa Fisher, Mike Bear, Andy Haskell, and John Gary Welch; as well as County Auditor Gayle Rayles.

With pay raises for county employees having been a topic of discussion over the past couple of months while the county council has been considering its 2018 budget; again at the meeting how and if raises were going to be given was discussed.

Council member Rachel Schuler asked about the pay increases for the employees in the clerk's office. This item was mentioned during the special meeting. Clerk Gayle Sullivan said she has money in her Title IV-D Incentive fund that she intends to use to give her staff pay increases next year. All four employees do some Title IV-D work. She explained that the money has to be given proportionate to the amount of Title IV-D work each person does.

Council member Lisa Fisher said that she had attended a session on IV-D at the AIC Conference, and that there are rules and tracking that has to been done, but the clerk has the authority to give additional pay to her staff.

Council asked if Sullivan could just give a bonus, rather than a pay raise. They were told that the clerk can only give a pay increase and it must be shown on the salary ordinance.

Council President Glenn Scott asked what happens if the council didn't approve the salary ordinance with the increases. Jacque Clements, Director of Professional Development and Corporate Relations for the Association of Indiana Counties, said that the council has no jurisdiction over the Title IV-D Incentive funds and could not deny this use.

Council asked if there was anyone else who has money like this that can give pay increases. The prosecutor also has Title IV-D Incentive money. She can give pay increases or bonuses to her IV-D employees.

There was a discussion on how the amount will be shown on the salary ordinance. It will be shown as a separate line item with the base pay on one line and the additional compensation on a separate line. The funds may not be transferred into the General Fund in order to pay it with the employee's base pay. It must be paid out of both funds in order to meet federal requirements for tracking.

There was a discussion on other items the clerk can use the money for.

Schuler asked about the Nurse Managed Clinic Board's authority to set wages for their staff. Clements stated that, if they are considered county employees, the County Council sets their pay. Their Board can only make recommendations. Indiana Code Section 36-2-5-3 spells out the Council's authority over salaries/wages.

*

Schuler made a motion to approve the 2018 Budget, and Fisher seconded the motion. There was a discussion on any changes. Rayles said that, as discussed at the previous regular meeting, the only change was reducing the December 31st, 2018 ending balance for Reassessment by the amount the county was over its max levy. This will not affect the assessor's reassessment budget.

Clements reviewed the logic behind the reduction. She also explained the difference in the funds in the two sections of the budget ordinance the council signs for the state approving the budget. The top section includes the funds the state reviews - those having levies and the highway and local road and street funds. The bottom section has Home Rule funds. These are funds the county budgets and are entered in Gateway for transparency.

County President Scott then called for the vote, and the 2018 Budget was approved unanimously.

*

Commissioner Mark Lohide was not able to be present at the meeting, so Commissioner Josh South spoke briefly about truck replacement.

He did not have any pricing and said it had not been discussed in a commissioners meeting for several months. Rayles said that at the last council meeting Scott said something about using the excess money from casino revenue (the amount over the $8,000,000 committed for distributions) toward the purchase of trucks. She said that the county's revenue was down even more this year and the excess was only $170,199.00. This would be approximately the cost of one truck.

South told Rayles to put truck replacement on the agenda for the next commissioner meeting on October 16th.

*

Adam Cole of the Switzerland County School Endowment Corporation said the most current bylaws for the Endowment were from 2008, and the members of the endowment were asking for the county to consider some changes.

Some of the changes were just to update wording. In Section 4.01 they are recommending additional language the states a member of the school board may not also be a member of the school endowment. There was a discussion on expanding this to include any employee of the school corporation.

Cole reviewed the language on filling vacancies and explained that the original board was set up with staggered first terms with replacements/reappointments every two years after that so that terms for the entire board would not be up at the same time. He mentioned that in recent years the council and commissioners have been on a one-year appointment schedule. There needs to be some guidance on what they prefer in the future.

Section 4.04 is new allowing members to attend meetings by telephone and/or other electronic media. There was a discussion on compensation for those not in attendance physically and if this should be allowed on a regular basis. Language limiting this type of attendance was suggested.

In Section 5.07 there is a correction to the compensation for board members. The bylaws have that the members are to receive $100 per meeting; however, they have been receiving $125. Schuler, who also serves as the treasurer for the endowment, said she had no idea when this had been changed. Cole felt the change would have been in the minutes of a council meeting.

Scott said that the council would not be voting on the bylaws at that meeting and it will be on the agenda for the November meeting after everyone has an opportunity to go over the changes.

The Commissioners also need to ratify the ordinance. South suggested that the two groups have a joint meeting after the council meeting on November 8th to discuss the school endowment bylaws and truck replacements for the highway department.





Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Article comment by: Robin Bennington

The speeding and reckless driving on Elam Rd needs to be addressed by the county. On the straight section of Elam the speeding is ridiculous. There are walkers, bikers and children daily using what should be a safe area. Its like a drag strip with accelerating speed from the stop sign at Lake Geneva to the curve heading towards 56. Someone is going to get seriously injured or killed. They don't even slow for children. We need speed bumps, signage and/or more patrol of this area before something terrible happens.
I don't know what the solution is but something needs to be done before a child is lost on this road from recklessness.
Thanks so much!




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