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Lake County officials to find resolution on pay raise issue

Updated: March 12, 2013 6:14AM



CROWN POINT — Officials will have to decide Tuesday whether some of the county’s employees receive pay increases while others continue to work without any, in some cases for as long as 10 years.

Several departments, including the clerk’s office and highway department, appeared before the County Council in a work session last week to discuss how they were able to trim their budgets to afford the raises for the employees remaining.

County Clerk Michael Brown said he wanted to raise the salaries of 11 managers by $1,500 in keeping with raises given to the clerks in 2010. In some cases some clerks make more than their supervisors. A clerk’s salary is $21,500.

Ned Kovachevich, county director of planning, said employees in his department have not been given raises since he became director in 2003. At that time he had 17 employees. Currently he has 11 employees and one of those is leaving. It is that salary he would like to see redistributed among his workers.

“If (departments) can find it in their budgets I would hope you will consider it,” he said.

Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, said it is not fair that some employees would get a raise while the majority will not. Some departments are pared so thin they cannot make additional cuts. She said if officials did not allow small raises here and there to various departments and employees the county might be able to pool the savings and give all the employees a raise.

“That is if we stop giving … raises to just a few,” Cid said.

Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, said the council needs to reward the efforts of departments that have been able to tackle increasing workloads with fewer employees.

“I don’t know how we can continue to ask these departments to take on all these roles and give them nothing,” Franklin said.

Last fall the County Council considered a measure that would have allowed departments to redistribute money saved through attrition to remaining employees. A portion of the savings would have been returned to the general fund as well. The measure died after the council failed to consider a second reading.



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