LIBERAL, Kansas – The Seward County Commission approved county employees’ third raise in three years on Monday night.
It was a dramatic loss of revenue for Seward County. In 2009 oil valuations fell by about $40 million. Since then the employees have had to shoulder that loss.
“From 2009 to 2013 the commissioners were not able to budget any type of increase for the employees of any kind, from cost of living to merit or anything,” said County Administrator April Warden.
2013 brought some relief, a 5 percent increase, and last year a 50-cent an hour increase.
This year Commissioners worked to set aside $360,000 dedicated to raises for county workers.
“We didn’t necessarily know if we would use it, but at least it was there if we decided to,” said Commissioner Jim Rice.
Monday the decision was made final, a 5% increase across the board for nearly 300 county employees, including elected officials.
In all it costs $256,000. The county was able to reserve that money out of normal operations for the salaries. Officials say the raises will go a long way toward playing catch up from the lack of increases in years past, improving morale, and overall productivity.
“I think it’s a good investment in our employees and they’ll appreciate it and I’m sure we’ll receive dividends from our five percent,” Rice said.
County officials plan on researching a merit-based formula over the next year, so they have a simple and reliable way to give raises in the future.