County commissioners give worker $3 raiseMove comes after discussion about fairness of pay among deputies.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
After extensive discussion Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell, the Davison County commissioners approved a $3 per hour raise for Deputy Treasurer Susan Punt.
Punt had been making $10 an hour.
Outgoing Treasurer Brenda Veldheer originally requested a $6 per hour raise for the Deputy I position to bring the salary more into line with Deputy I positions in other offices.
Deputies in county offices are assigned ranks according to their level of responsibility. Deputy I employees have the most responsibility but don’t always receive the highest pay.
In the Auditor’s Office, Deputy I, II and III positions earn $17.05, $13.88 and $13.43 an hour, respectively.
In the Treasurer’s Office, they earn $10 ($13 after today), $15 and $10.50 an hour, respectively.
In the Register of Deeds Office, they earn $17.60 and $15.60 an hour, respectively. There is no Deputy III position.
“I believe we should be compensating employees equally for the jobs they are doing,” Veldheer said. “We need to compensate our employees adequately, or we’ll start losing these people.”
But a $6 an hour bump in pay for a deputy six months on the job was more than the commissioners could bear.
“It’s a huge jump,” said Commissioner Kim Weitala, and Claggett agreed. They compromised on a $3 raise.
Weitala said, “Thirteen dollars is more in line with what we should have started her at.”
All agreed that the inequities in the Deputy I pay levels highlighted the need for a salary survey.
“I don’t think we can afford not to have a survey,” Weitala said.
Commissioner Denny Kiner said his time with the county is the first time he’s been with an organization without a defined salary schedule.
“It’s a point of justice,” he said. “How do you compensate someone commensurate to their performance? This should all be laid out and automatic.”
County Auditor Susan Kiepke said the county commission began looking into a salary survey in the late 1990s but never followed through because the process was too expensive.
Raises are currently approved by the commissioners on a case-by-case basis.
No action was taken Tuesday toward a solution.
Two bridges too far gone
Acting on a report from Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg, the commissioners approved resolutions downgrading the weight limits on two bridges on north-south routes in Badger Township, in northern Davison County.
The downgrades were recommended by Civil Engineering, a Brookings firm, following the state-mandated bridge inspections that were completed in 2012. Bridges longer than 20 feet must be inspected every two years.
The downgraded bridges are:
• A box culvert on 404th Avenue between 244th and 245th streets.
Weinberg said aging concrete structure can probably be replaced with metal culverts for between $10,000 and $20,000. The structure, previously rated to carry 24 tons for a single axle truck and 40 tons for a typical semi, was downgraded to 6 tons and 11 tons, respectively.
• A 1940s vintage pony-truss bridge over Firesteel Creek at 404th Avenue between 249th and 250th streets.
It was previously rated to carry 21 tons (single axle) and 41 tons (semi), but was downgraded to 12 and 23 tons, respectively. Most semis weigh between 12 and 15 tons empty, Weinberg said, “So trucks won’t be able to carry much of a payload over this bridge.” He said replacing the bridge would cost $549,000, and it’s on a state list to be replaced with mostly state funding in 2020.
Weinberg said the bridges should be posted by next week. The postings will be enforced by the Motor Carrier Division of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and violations will carry heavy fines.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Approved the renewal of liquor licenses for Wild Oak Golf Club and the Kongo Klub, and the renewal of a wine license for Leader Sporting Goods.
• Approved Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery’s request for a $12,100 contract with Baker Electric to install a manual transfer switch that will allow generators to be used at the county fairgrounds building in the event of an emergency. Nearly $9,000 could be reimbursed by a 2011 Homeland Security grant.
• Approved the hire of Brittani Dyce as a corrections officer at a pay of $12.13 per hour.
• Accepted the resignation of part-time corrections officer Ken McGhee, effective Dec. 1
• At Weinberg’s request, approved the $4,975 purchase of a trailer from Campbell Supply. The trailer will be used to haul signage equipment and other machinery.
• Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, approved a conditional use permit for Robert Ball, for a repair shop on his property at 40376 253rd St. where he will mount tires for Trail King trailers.