Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

County OKs employee pay packages

County OKs employee pay packages

January 23, 2008

Leavenworth County's non-elected employees will receive an average 2 percent salary increase based on merit in addition to a 1.5 percent across-the-board cost-of-living adjustment in 2008, but it has yet to be determined how elected officials' salaries will be affected.

After approving the COLA in a meeting Monday, Jan. 14, county commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to keep the current salary matrix for meritorious pay raises based on each worker's yearly review.

County Clerk Linda Scheer said the approximately $421,000 that was placed in this year's budget should adequately cover all merit increases.

The board also voted, 3-0, to increase the amount county employees are reimbursed for meals while attending conferences from $26 to $34 per day, a rate equal to that paid to state employees.

Several county employees, including deputy director of emergency management Debbie Winetroub, brought questions about the pay adjustments forward.

Winetroub asked where an "arbitrary" 1.5 percent COLA came from, pointing to higher increases for federal employees and private-sector workers.

Commissioner Dean Oroke said, "According to federal statistics we got, the COLA increase was 2.3 percent across the Kansas City metro area."

Oroke noted that an employee in the first quartile usually a newer employee who "exceeds expectations" would receive a 4.5 percent total salary increase, while a longer-tenured employee in the fourth quartile that "meets expectations" would still receive a 3 percent raise.

Another proposal to increase elected officials' pay by 1.5 percent was tabled, 2-1, for a later date, with Commissioner J.C. Tellefson opposed.

Oroke said he was still trying to put together data on what elected officials made over the years in comparison to appointed officials and was not prepared Thursday to make a decision either way.

In other business Thursday, the board:

¢Approved, 3-0, a recommended funding scheme for a justification study for a regional airport in the county.

Leavenworth County Air and Business Park Committee chairman Greg Kaaz said he thought the study, which would help determine the feasibility of a regional airport with an adjoining industrial park, was necessary. He based his thoughts on a meeting with Federal Aviation Administra-tion representatives,

He estimated a total study cost from $40,000 to $100,000. Using the high figure along with a proposed $15,000 contribution from the Leavenworth County Port Authority, he suggested the county have a maximum commitment of $50,770.

According to his recommendation, contributions from the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing, Tonganoxie and Basehor based on population and overall valuation would be up to $21,284, $6,877, $3,052 and $3,018, respectively.

Tellefson, who voiced his support for the project, said a regional airport would take "ongoing political will" and eventually probably would come to a vote of the people.

¢ Voted, 3-0, to let construction bids for a new emergency medical services station to be located south of the Metropolitan Steakhouse at 16th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Leavenworth.

Construction costs for the 8,480 square-foot facility, designed by architects with Overland Park-based Horst, Terrill & Karst, have been previously estimated at $848,000.

Don Pruitt, with HTK, said official bids should come back by Feb. 18, with construction beginning shortly thereafter.

The board also considered purchasing an emergency generator at $150,000 or moving a generator from the vacant county infirmary at $46,000, but no action was taken in that regard.

¢ Scheduled two follow-up interviews with county administrator candidates for 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The interviews will be in executive session.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Information Systems director Larry Malbrough, who relayed a recommendation from the county's Technology Committee to limit the amount of time that employee e-mails are archived to 90 days.

Malbrough said with approximately 60,000 e-mails per month, it is increasingly difficult for his department to sort through messages from up to two years ago when someone makes a request.

Tellefson, who voiced his support for such a policy, said, "It's unmanageable to keep everything. : I'm not trying to hide anything; I just want to institutionalize where and how long (we keep e-mails)."

¢ After meeting in executive session for 20 minutes, reconvened and voted unanimously to offer Emergency Management director Chuck Magaha a one-year contract extension at $57,352.58, effective Jan. 27.

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