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Lake County Commission considering wage increases to recruit and retain county employees

With a number of open positions and limited applicants, the Lake County Commission is discussing what the county can do to attract good employees and keep them working for the county.  

County Commission Administrative Officer and Human Resource Specialist Shelli Gust told commissioners Tuesday that the county will have close to one-point-seven-million dollars remaining in American Rescue Plan Act (or ARPA) funds.  This is the amount remaining after commissioners approved more than 800-thousand dollars in ARPA grants for non-profit organizations earlier this year.  Gust told commissioners that there could be a way to utilize the ARPA funds to help with increasing wages.

Gust said that ARPA funds cannot be put directly in the county’s general fund, but she said that they could be used in other public safety funds in order to help that fund out.  She said this is good news for the county.

Gust told county commissioners that several of the county departments are struggling to recruit and retain employees, and a big factor is wages.  She said one of the county’s wage committee’s recommendations is to increase wages starting already next month.

Gust said that commissioners could also consider giving a two-dollar an hour increase now, with the 50-cent an hour increase in Fiscal Year 23.  She gave commissioners the example of what Brookings County is doing with wages for Correctional Officers.

Sheriff Tim Walburg and 911 Communications Director April Denholm both encouraged commissioners to consider the two-dollar an hour increase to help in the recruitment of employees.  Commissioner Dennis Slaughter said that he’s in favor of the wage increase.

Commissioners will discuss the potential wage increases for county positions again at their next regular meeting on July 5th.  Gust said that if they approve something at that time, it could still go into effect with the county’s payroll starting on July 11th. 




June 22, 2022

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