(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County government workers are receiving a bonus in addition to a pay increase adopted last month.
The La Porte County Council last night voted to give a $2,000 bonus to employees next year and in 2023. The bonuses will be reflected in paychecks over the next two years.
Councilman Mike Mollenhauer said the goal now is increasing wages in future years above the five percent and six percent levels approved recently. However, he said salaries are not where they should be due to very little increase in pay for several years when money was tight from a lingering countywide property tax reassessment.
“We’ve talked about trying to get this money up in salaries. I hope we’re going to continue discussing it all this coming year, 2022, and maybe be able to get something done by 2023,” Mollenhauer said.
The bonuses will cost the county 2.6 million dollars. Many people feel the bonuses and a recent increase in pay are not enough to stop workers from leaving for higher pay elsewhere. Though Steve Holifield, a farmer in Mill Creek, voiced concerns while council members were in the process of making a decision. Holifield said he’s also been feeling the pinch from inflation and higher taxes.
“When do we get to keep some of our money. If they’re not happy they can leave. There are jobs everywhere,” he said.
Council President Randy Novak challenged Holifield to walk in their shoes and the shoes of county employees.
“Mr. Holifield, I just want to tell you we are responsible and I would encourage you, sir, to spend the day with any one of these people listed on this sheet and follow them around and see what they do,” he said.
Holifield then encouraged the county workers to spend a day with him as well.
The council also approved significant increases in pay for several department heads like the Building Maintenance Director, whose earnings will grow by more than $10,000 to $70,000 for 2022.
Council members said department head salaries are still below what’s paid for similar positions in other similar-sized counties.