Barry County employees receive 6 percent raise

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

County spends $56,000 to raise pay of 44 employees

Employees of Barry County will soon notice a boost to their pocket-books, as the Barry County Commission recently approved a raise in pay.

The 6 percent pay raise, which will cost the county about $56,000 and affect 44 county employees, is funded through the 1/8-cent county-wide sales tax approved by voters in April 2013. According to Gary Youngblood, Barry County clerk, the sales tax is expected to produce an estimated $380,000 in revenue in 2014. The raise marks the first for county employees since 2007.

"We felt our employees have been very loyal to us, and they had an increase in health insurance and we covered that, too," said Cherry Warren, Barry County presiding commissioner. "As we replace the older employees, we know we're not at the top of the pay scale, so we're happy to be able to do this."

While county employees will see a raise, elected officials will not see an increase until 2018 at the earliest, and Warren said that is still under review.

"Officeholders' salaries have not increased since 2003, and the salary commission did not meet last because we knew there would be no increase," Warren said. "So, elected officials' salaries are good for the next four years after the 2014 elections."

Warren said the salary commission could meet in 2015, and it would have to look at the condition of the county's finances before approving any raise.

Deputies in the Barry County Sheriff's Department will also receive a 6 percent pay raise, but only for the first half of the year. Deputies who earn less than $28,000 per year see their salaries supplemented to that amount through a Sheriff's Deputies Supplemental Fund grant, established by the state legislature in 2011. Because the grant must be renewed each year, each deputy will receive the 6 percent boost to their base pay, which they will earn alongside the supplemental fund money, until the grant is renewed in July. After the grant is renewed, the supplemental fund will only pay deputies up to $28,000 again.

"Basically, the county will be paying more of that deputy's salary now, and less would come out of the supplemental fund," Youngblood said.

According to Youngblood, only one deputy, Chief Deputy Leonard Collins, has a base pay above $28,000, and his base pay is $30,000. With the 6 percent raise, Collins will now earn $31,800.

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