December 15, 2022

The Northampton Board of Supervisors heard two presentations at Tuesday night’s meeting centering around employee retention.

The first came from Sheriff David Doughty, who asked to add $2 per hour pay for ‘on call’ investigators, patrol supervisors, animal control, jail transport staff and K-9 officers. Doughty, in speaking with the board, said when he had staff on call but not on duty, “they could not go anywhere with their family.”

Administrator Charlie Kolakowski said an on call stipend isn’t that uncommon and that it usually is in place for highly skilled employees. When asked, he did acknowledge that approval by the Board would likely result in similar requests from other agencies.

The request was approved at a price tag of $70,611 annually.

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Next was Administrator Charlie Kolakowski who reported to the board the County had tried several different ideas to aid in employee retention.

“This is not an easy task and it will not be solved all at once,” said Kolakowski. “But we are looking at a situation that has been building up over the last several years.”

He requested the Board approve a one time bonus of $500 for all current full time employees “to help offset the effect inflation is having on their finances” with a payment of $250 for part time employees. Any employees who have worked for the County for less than a year will receive a pro-rated bonus. He estimated the overall cost at $80,000.

Some employees will receive a $1 an hour increase in January due to the increase in minimum wage. Kolakowski asked the Board to consider a similar increase for all County employees. He estimated such a move would cost the County $274,304 in 2023. It would give the average employee approximately a $2,080 bump in pay.

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“The CPI has increased by 15% since July 1, 2020 through October 31 2022,” he added. “The County has granted 7% in cost of living adjustments, which is leaving our employees behind.”

“Half of our current employees make less than $44,000 a year, nine make less than $30,000.” said Kolakowski. “These are full time employees.”

The presentation from Kolakowski lead some Supervisors to question how such a move would be possible without increasing taxes.

Pep Up

Kolakowski responded that revenues were strong, and he thought the County needed to look at both revenue and expenses.

“We need to look at lot of the things we do,” he said. “Just because we’ve always had certain positions, doesn’t mean we have to continue doing so.”

“Unless I missed a decimal point, I think we are talking about adding a couple cents to the real estate tax rate,” said Supervisor Dixon Leatherbury.

The Supervisors unanimously voted to send the one time bonus to public hearing.

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