St. Joseph County employees could see another pay increase

For the second year in a row, all St. Joseph County employees could get a salary increase.

During a budget meeting Wednesday night, the county council and commissioners added money for an across-the-board salary increase into their proposed 2013 budget.

They're proposing a flat increase of $1,000 for all full-time employees except public defenders, deputy prosecutors, judges and some Sheriff's department employees.

The proposal does include raises for part-time folks who work at least 20 hours a week.

They'll see an increase of $0.25 an hour.

County leaders say they favor the flat raise because it will help close the gap between those on the high and low ends of the pay scale.

They say several studies show St. Joseph County pays its employees significantly less than counties of a similar size.

"The salaries of the vast majority of our county employees, they are extremely low," said County Council President Rafael Morton. "Coupled with the fact that before last year we had not given raises in a matter of 8 years, then we are constantly playing catch up."

Last year, county leaders approved a 3 percent raise for county employees and a five percent raise for county police officers.

The 2013 budget won't be finalized until it's voted on in October.

If approved, the proposed raises would cost the county a maximum of $1.1 million.

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