Saturday, July 7, 2012
McHenry County Board Votes Pay Increase For Non-Union Workers
The raise, representing anywhere from a 0 to 3.5 percent individual increase based on merit scores, would cost $517,000 in next year's McHenry County budget, according to estimates. County Administrator Peter Austin told members it would keep a rough parity between salaries for the County's unionized workers and for non-union personnel but wouldn't require a tax levy increase.
Even those who supported the measure weren't very hearty in their endorsements. "There are segments of Society that have gone several years without a pay increase but a majority of people in the private sector are seeing increases," said District One Member Anna May Miller, Cary.
"When people are having a hard time keep their jobs...I really can't support a wage increase," countered District Four Member John Hammerand, Wonder Lake.
Most of the argument was over whether the boost really wouldn't require a property tax levy boost.
When District Three Member Nick Provenzano, McHenry, pointed out there was no guarantee, Austin backed off a little. "We were trying to get this done on the front end of the budget process," he said. "We're not asking what do you want to do about capturing the allotted inflation growth," said Austin.
That was the problem, said District Three Member Kathy Bergan Schmit. "Nothing is fixed until we take a final vote on the budget. I wouldn't be for voting any way--up, down or sideways--because we don't know what the rest of the budget looks like."
Austin said if it became necessary, the Board could always undo the raise.
Finance Committee Chairman Scott Breeden, Lakewood, argued that finally it all came down to the Board's own fiscal discipline. "I've seen it before," he said. "When you have a big bag of money--'We have to figure out how to spend it all,'" said Breeden. "I'm definitely against that approach."
The merit raises, affecting around half the County's workers won't go into effect until Dec. 1.