The Delaware County commissioners on Thursday approved raises for about 400 employees under their control.
The commissioners unanimously approved 2.375 percent pay increases beginning Jan. 4, 2014.
Although the legislation affects only the employees under the commissioners’ control, it does encourage other elected officials and department heads to “institute substantially similar eligibility eligibility criteria for the employees under their respective direction and control.”
Commissioner Ken O’Brien has been hesitant to approve raises in the past. He said the circumstance were different this time around.
“In the past, we didn’t have sufficient funds to do it,” he said. “Now, our revenues are up.”
O’Brien also expressed concern about employees leaving the county to find work elsewhere.
“There are some employees going to other job opportunities,” he said. “We need to take care of our hard-working employees.”
The raises for the 400 or so county employees under control of the commissioners will cost $300,900.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said the raises are well deserved.
“We always wish we could do more,” he said. “But that was fair and reasonable under these conditions.”
The 2.375 percent number was a compromise between Merrell and O’Brien. Merrell originally proposed a 2.5 percent raise, while O’Brien suggested a 2.25 percent raise.
O’Brien agreed to meet in the middle as long as the county takes a serious look at merit-based pay increases in the future, an idea supported by Commissioner Dennis Stapleton.
“I like the idea of merit raises because I do believe there are people out there that deserve more than we might suggest,” Stapleton said when the compromise was reached.