LANE COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) -- With budget cuts on the minds of many in Lane County, several residents are asking questions now about possible new pay scales and, in turn, raises to two of the county’s top administrators.
A new proposal from the Lane County Human Resources department is recommending a total of more than $43,000 worth of raises for both the County Administrator Liane Richardson and the County Counsel Stephen Dingle.
The recommendation comes as part of contract renegotiations. If passed, the proposal would create a completely new pay scale for the two positions.
Under the proposal, the Lane County Human Resources department is suggesting that Richardson's pay increase from the current $152,345 to $175,656. The proposal also suggests raising Dingle's pay from $145,995 in 2013 to $166,400.
To be clear, none of the proposed raises have been passed or approved. The county's Board of Commissioners will have the final say on the matter in a meeting next week.
According to county staff, the recommendation comes in an effort to stay competitive with other public and private jobs and to prevent Lane County from losing its Administrator and County Counsel. In reviewing the County Administrator position, human resources representatives found that Lane County's “base pay for the County Administrator position remains approximately 8.37% below the average base compensation of comparator counties”, including Clackamas, Deschutes, Jackson, Marion and Washington counties.
In reviewing the County Counsel position, Human Resources representatives found that county counsel positions in similarly-sized counties “do not perform the full scope of responsibilities of the Lane County counsel.”
NewsSource 16 explained the proposal to a few Lane County residents on Thursday in downtown Eugene. Many were not happy to even hear about the proposal.
Referencing the budget problems that Lane County is continuing to face, Lane County resident Rudy Tria said, “Do we have to add to that with somebody making more money? Step back, see if, you know, how are the voters going to feel about this. How are the people that have to do with an awful lot less [doing], saying 'oh well look at this, it's another raise'.”
Another Lane County resident Gail McCammon had advice for commissioners as they considered the decision.
"I'd say 'do you want a recall?' Short, snappy, to the point and honest,” said McCammon.
The Board of Commissioners will have a final say on the pay raises at next Tuesday's meeting, January 29. According to the language of the proposal, commissioners will consider the following factors for both proposed pay raises:
• Employee's eompetence in the position within the county.
• Employee's record of service in the county and elsewhere.
• The range of compensation paid others by public and private employers for comparable service.
• The county's financial condition and policies.
• Other factors relevant to the determination of what is fair compensation for the individual
Lane County Commissioners, communications and human resources staff declined to comment on the proposal today. Commissioner Jay Bozievich did issue the following statement:
“Market average is just one of the factors the Board will be considering when making this decision as noted in the Board package we also need to consider the financial health of the county and many other factors as well.
There are actually two decisions before us, whether to move to a pay plan like our regular employees and then what compensation we should pay our Administrator and County Counsel. No decisions on either matter have been made and I look forward to the presentation to help inform me prior to making one.” -- Jay Bozievich, Lane County Commissioner.
To read the complete text of the proposal, click the following link: http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/BCC/Documents/2013_AGENDAS/012913agenda/T.9.A.pdf