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Wage Hikes On Tap for Lee County Employees

Almost every Lee County employee will get a pay raise on July 1, 2017, despite the fact that the county’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is in the red by roughly $1.5-million.

The raises for the county’s union workforce are included in new employment contracts, ratified this month, prior to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signing a significant re-write of the state’s collective bargaining law.

The county said it was that proposal, at the time, that led the county and the unions to only negotiate wages after exchanging initial contract offers.

  • The union representing sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers eventually settled on a two-year contract with annual wage increases of 1.5%.
  • The unions representing the secondary roads department and the administrative unit (employees in the auditor’s, treasurer’s and recorder’s office) each settled on one-year deals with annual wage hikes of 1.9%.

The county board also set the wage hikes for non-union employees at roughly 2.5%. The panel considered an amount closer to the union rates, but decided instead to set the rate for department heads more in line with the county’s elected leaders.
The county compensation board recommended wage hikes for the county auditor, treasurer, recorder, attorney and sheriff ranging from 5%-12%. But the county board sliced them by 80%, settling on increases of between roughly .5% to 2.5%.

It appears the only employees who will be shut out are the county board members themselves. They chose to freeze their salaries for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2017.

The county's budget must be approved by mid-March. At this point, the county plans to reduce the $1.5-million shortfall by watching spending during the year and using fund balances.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.