2017-12-06 / News

County’s non-union employees to get raises

810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — Lapeer County’s non-union employees are set to receive a 2 percent raise in 2018, after board members approved the increase following a lengthy closed session Thursday.

Loud voices could be heard in the hallway outside the chambers of the board of commissioners during the closed session that took place at the end of board’s committee of the whole meeting (the committee was given the authority to act due to the Thanksgiving holiday). There wasn’t any public discussion about the raises after the closed session.

The raises apply to full-time, regular part-time, and part-time workers classified as general non-union, appointed, elected, health non-union, Community Mental Health non-union, and contractual “no-union” workers.

Negotiations between the county and 11 collective bargaining units represented is underway.

John Biscoe, controller/ administrator, Lapeer County, could not be reached by press time.

Lapeer County Commissioner Dyle Henning said similar level raises have been approved for non-union employees for the last several years.

“For a number of years after the recession started, we didn’t give any pay increases,” Henning said.

In 2011, Biscoe told The County Press that “our philosophy has been we want to keep people working. We don’t want to be a factor in the unemployment.”

When things turned the corner, Henning said Monday, the county started paying out “a one-time stipend.”

“Eventually when things settled, we started back with raises to try and make up some of the, in effect, loss that our employees had suffered over those four or five years,” Henning told The County Press.

Henning, who voted yes to the raises along with the rest of the board, said he didn’t know how many non-union employees there are for Lapeer County.

He said various factors are considered when it comes to doling out pay increases.

“You’re looking at competition… what are comparable counties our size offering,” Henning said. “What is the private market offering?”

Henning said without considering what employees could make elsewhere “you end up with the possibility of losing employees to other public and private units, which we do on a fairly regular basis.”

“Or you have problems attracting employees, as we’ve had recently with the health department,” he said.

As previously reported, the county has struggled to find qualified applicants for the positions of Animal Control Chief and Director of Environmental Health, both part of the health department.

(The department’s former Animal Control Chief resigned effective Oct. 11 and the Director of Environmental Health Dorothy Wicks announced plans to retire at the end of October, though has agreed to stay on as a parttime official while the search continues to find her replacement.)

Henning said he didn’t want to comment on the cause of the raised voices during the closed session on Thursday.

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