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Minnehaha County to reverse worker wage cut

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Commissioners in South Dakota's largest county have reversed a decision to cut the base pay of most county workers by 5 percent.

The Minnehaha County pay cut was imposed to help close an almost $3 million budget shortfall. The county budget is doing better than expected this year, and the county spent less than budgeted and dipped into cash reserves less than expected last year, County Auditor Bob Litz said.

"That comes from changes to the budget by the commission, very conservative department spending practices and, frankly, a little bit of luck," he said Tuesday.

The pay cut took effect late last year and will be rescinded in early March.

"Everybody is glad to get their 5 percent back," said Pat Herman, the county's assistant planning director. "Right away, we shared the news and everybody was shocked that they did it but were very happy."

Workers will not receive back pay for January and February.

County sheriff's deputies did not have their pay cut because of a lawsuit filed by their union. Commissioners are appealing the ruling by the administrative law judge in that case that the county violated a collective bargaining agreement with the salary cut.