Alcona County OKs raises

HARRISVILLE — The Alcona County Board of Commissioners finished giving raises to its non-union employees last week when it gave a 2% increase to four of the county’s court employees.

Commissioners unanimously approved the increases during their meeting last week.

Last month, the board agreed to give a 2% increase to the county’s department heads and its non-union employees, while elected officials received a 1% increase. County commissioners were excluded from the raises.

Commissioners approved those salary increases in a 4-1 vote last month, with Commissioner Gary Wnuk casting the dissenting vote.

During last month’s meeting, the board tabled a decision on $2,500 bonuses for the heads of the county’s Information Technology and Building and Grounds departments.

Board Vice Chairman Adam Brege previously told The News all of the county’s employees covered by union contracts had received raises.

The board, which has struggled to manage the county budget since voters twice rejected property tax proposals last year, tried to give non-union employees raises in February and May, but could not reach a consensus as to how big of a raise or which employees should receive those raises.

The county has 20 full-time non-union employees, one part-time non-union employee, and 11 elected officials.

Board Chairman Craig Johnston estimated last week the combined raises will cost the county between $21,000 and $23,000. The raises were not factored into the county’s budget for the current fiscal year.

Johnston said commissioners anticipate they will be able to give those raises and still maintain the county’s budget.

“We’ve realized quite a bit of cost savings through changing our health care providers,” he said, adding the board also asked employees to pick up a little more of their health care costs.

Johnston explained the board made a considerable number of cuts, combined with changes to the health care plans, to try to get back under budget. That’s why commissioners wanted to wait until they were halfway through the year before considering the raises.

He said that, while the county is saving some money, commissioners have to consider raises for employees or those employees are not going to stick around.

“We have good ones. We have training invested in them. We don’t want to lose them,” he said. “Many, many local companies are having a hard time finding people and retaining people .”

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.