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Quorum Court panel to weigh 2 groups' requests for raises

by Eplunus Colvin | November 2, 2021 at 3:36 a.m.
FILE - Members of the Jefferson County Quorum Court and staff maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet between other people during a meeting in April 2020 in Pine Bluff.

Two groups of county employees left out of a 6% raise are asking to be included.

The request is on tonight's agenda to be discussed during the Jefferson County Quorum Court committee meetings, with a potential decision on the matter a week later by the full quorum court.

In September, the Jefferson County sheriff's office requested in a letter to Judge Gerald Robinson that the Jefferson County Quorum Court approve a 6% salary increase for the Juvenile Justice Education fund.

The recent ordinance, enacting a raise for all county employees, excluded this group because it is state-funded.

According to Chris Brown, office manager of the sheriff's office, the previously approved ordinance funded those raises from the County General. Brown said, however, that while no new appropriation at the budget line level is necessary, the specific change in the budget would need the court's approval.

A request was also made to approve a 6% salary increase for the Tri-County Drug Task Force fund. The recent ordinance enacting the raises for all county employees excluded this group as it is grant-reimbursed.

As with the Juvenile Justice Education fund, Brown said, the previous ordinance funded those raises from County General, but the specific line item would have to be approved by the full quorum court.

The anticipated cost of the increased expenditure totals for the Juvenile Justice Education fund is $11,334.12 and $777.94 for the Tri-County Drug Task Force fund.

The Jefferson County Clerk's August 2021 Budget Detail Report demonstrates existing balances that, according to Brown, are "comfortably capable of accommodating" those increases.

If voted and approved by the Quorum Court the amended ordinance would read as follows:

Article I. That Appropriation Ordinance No. 2020-t60, the 2021 Budget for the County General Fund for Jefferson County, is now amended to provide a supplemental appropriation from the County General Fund.

Amendments to various county departments to provide a 6% salary increase to all full-time county employees. Some county employees will exceed a 6% increase due to living wages, comparable salaries to other counties of the same class, special qualifications in education, and years of service, job titles, and duties.

Article II. Employees funded through school district funding, part-time employees, and grant-funded will not receive raises.

Article III. Six percent increase to Tri-County Drug Task Force Position and 6% increase to Juvenile Justice Education position to be retroactive to September 1, 2021.

Article IV. The Fiscal Year 2021 Amended Budget for Jefferson County for the County General Fund is now approved and made part of the record. This Ordinance will be retroactive to September 1, 2021.

Article V. This Appropriation Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.

If the court approves this request, according to Brown, the 6% increase would follow the lead of Ordinance No. 2021-90 in retroactively applying the increase to include the September through December earning periods.

Print Headline: Quorum Court panel to weigh 2 groups' requests for raises

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