Board gives blessing for county employee bonuses

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

After discussing some of the final proposed budgets for 2019, Quroum Court Finance Chairman Justice Michael White addressed adding raises into the 2019 budget and to give county employees a bonus this year before the holidays.

Board members approved the bonuses and are considering the raises.

Justice Ken Kennemore made the motion to give the county employees the full bonus, $1,200 for full-time and $600 for part-time employees. Justice Barry Ball seconded the motion and the bonuses passed unamninously.

White said, “Employee benefit package. Now we don’t have to decide today but I’d like to give [Financial Management Director] Kellie [Jones] some guidelines to work with over the next few days in putting this overall budget together. Last year, 2017, in November we gave across the board bonuses. All full-time employees got a $100 a month, prorated, which would have been $1,200 for an employee that had been with us for the whole year. Half that for part-time employees…and that was in their Thanksgiving paycheck, basically. A day before Thanksgiving, because for two or three years we had not been able to give raises. So, we were just waiting until, for about three years, and we waited until the end of the year to see if we would have any money. We did and then we shared it. We did that last year with the promise that after the first of the year we’d look at full-time raises. Which we did and so in February we voted to give across the board raises. We gave $1,000 to full-time employees and then we gave $2,000 raises to elected officials and then we gave 50-cents an hour to the hourly part-time employees and if I’m not mistaken that started the first of March…Bonuses do not reflect in our Jesup program results and reports… I whole-heartedly believe and will fight, we have got to give raises this year. We have got to do that. The question is, the employees are all but begging for some kind of bonus also. You know we’ve done it the last three years and when we gave those raises we talked about maybe not doing the bonuses this year, but this is what I want y’all to be thinking and considering is the $1,000 and $2,000 was good but I think we could do better. My personal recommendation would have been to lets go 50 percent more than that. I’d like to see us, one guy, but I’d like to see us go $1,500, to the full-time employees, and then $3,000 to the elected officials. Now are we getting the elected officials up way high? No we’re not… We’d end up spending about $550,000 in increased employee benefits. Now this is just a thought process and I’m not asking you to decide today. There are other ideas and I’d like to open the floor and all 10 of us speak.”

All Justices of the Peace, besides Justice Alvin Clay who was absent, liked the idea and decided to put into the 2019 proposed budget — $1,500 and $3,000 — but if it doesn’t work out then they will revisit it. This would cost $420,000 the county, if the $1,500 and $3,000 raises were given.

For bonuses, White explained they have to decide that day if they will give bonuses this year. County Judge Terri Brassfield said there is one more payday before the holidays.

The JPs discussed if they should give the same bonuses this year as they gave last year or half. Everyone agreed to give the same bonuses as in 2017, which cost the county $250,000.

Meanwhile, County Clerk Janice Currie stated that as of Saturday more than 6,300 people had early voted in Mississippi County.

Also, there will be no meeting next week and justices may have the the last budget meeting on Monday, Nov. 19. The next Quorum Court meeting is Nov. 27. According to White, the QC hopes to call for the special election for the courthouse at the full QC meeting.