Richland County Finance and Personnel Committee Meeting

There was much discussion surrounding the new pay grade system adopted by the Richland County Board of Supervisors at the Tuesday, February 13th Finance & Personnel Committee meeting.

As it stands now, new hires will start at step one which is below the market rate. Currently, employees who are still on probationary status, would fall into the new system starting at Step 1 of the Grade in which their job description falls. Many departments pointed out that at this time employees hired before the adoption of the wage study would fall into a lesser pay grade than what the job was advertised or said to pay at the time of hire following the probationary period. The Finance & Personnel Committee was made aware of the issue by Health & Human Services Committee member, Dr. Bryan Myers, when a request was made to to shorten the probationary time for eight of its employees so they would fall into the pay scale implemented by the wage study in April. Six of the eight employees would see the wage they were quoted to make following probation decreased between 54 cents an hour to as much as $2.81 an hour. After much discussion and input, it was decided to bring the matter back to the March meeting and request a county wide assessment of how many employees would be affected. Health & Human Services also noted that two positions are missing from the wage study. Input from Carlson-Dettman will need to be sought on this matter.

Health & Human Services Director, Patrick Metz, tendered his resignation January 11th. Metz will step down April 2nd. The Health & Human Services Committee brought some issues to the Finance & Personnel Committee in filling the position. Dr. Myers reported concerns of how to advertise to fill the position with a qualified candidate at an equitable rate of compensation with a below market pay scale. With the new wage study the committee is being asked to fill a $40,000 a year job with a compensation of $36,000 annual salary. The Health & Human Services committee was asking to advertise to fill the position offering a salary range rather than the set rate. It was felt too much time and money had been invested into the wage study to make changes. The Finance & Personnel committee voted not to offer a salary range in its search for a new director.

The Health & Human Services committee plans to have an interim director start in April at a pay grade slightly less than what is currently being paid. This would allow for additional pay for added responsibilities for those currently working at Health & Human Services. The committee was also hoping to hold off the time line to interview a new permanent hire until after the spring elections.

In other action requested by Health & Human Services the Finance & Personnel Committee approved management restructure modifications. These modifications have no bearing or changes to the pay grade or duties of the position, only who they report to. Approval was granted for three job title corrections in the wage study which is just a clerical clean-up. Also approved was a position description update for eight positions without increased hours.

The Finance & Personnel committee also looked at the wage study to outline the appeal process and establish a time line. Employees have until this Friday, February 16, to fill out and return the proper document to their department heads if they plan to appeal their placement on the pay scale for their job description. Following the notice to appeal, those employees will receive the proper forms and outlines of what is a credible appeal. If they plan to continue the appeal process that paper work is to be returned by Friday, March 2. It is at that point that Carlson – Dettman will handle the appeals process. The cost for the appeals process is $250 per category. At this point over 30 persons have submitted the first stage of the appeals process.

Mike Breninger presented an Economic Development Memorandum of Understanding to the Richland County Finance & Personnel Committee. Economic Development is expanding the base for contributors to fund increasing the contracted time to have Economic Specialist, Kate Koziol, working for the Richland Center area. It is planned to increase her contracted time from the current 20% to 40% from June 1, 2018 to May 30, 2019. Economic Development is going to both public and private entities to request funding. The purpose of coming to the County Board is the need to have a contractual public entity to receive state and federal funding. The county has allocated $7,500 in its 2018 budget for this purpose. The committee approved financing $7,500 and entering into a binding contract with Economic Development.

The Sheriff’s Department requested a number of approvals consisting of an unpaid medical leave of absence, vacation carryovers, and addendum revisions for the handbook on vacation carryover and sick leave usage during probationary period. All four requests were approved by the committee.

The committee also approved: an Operating While Intoxicated Court Planning & Implementation Program Grant for 2018 in the amount of $125,000 with a county match of $40,834; for the Management Information Systems Department to continue to enhance and upgrade the county webpage as time allows to make it more user friendly for the public; the creation of a Wellness Committee as a sub-committee of the Finance & Personnel committee with financing to be approved following a budget being submitted by the sub-committee.

All motions approved by the Richland County Finance & Personnel Committee will be brought before the full board of supervisors at its next meeting on Tuesday, February 20, at 10:00 AM.

Discussion was also held with Health & Human Services Director, Patrick Metz, about the transparency of institutional costs as well as the definition of placement. Also where is the shortfall in the budget coming from. According to County Board Chair, Jeanetta Kirkpatrick, the state has mandated these placements to counties with a ceiling in the availability of reimbursements which will be a major topic at the State’s annual conference in La Crosse this fall. To make the funding more understandable, the Children and Adult Institutional Accounts would be transitioned to one account titled Court Ordered Funds.