Pottawatomie County employees who worked everyday when the COVID-19 pandemic began through the first week of May 2020, will receive a one-time $600 check.
The funds were unanimously approved by the commission Monday, to be paid out of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds the county received this year. The bonus will be paid out on Dec. 17. Those who did not work everyday during that period, won’t receive the premium pay.
In addition, the 1.6 percent cost of living adjustment approved during the 2022 budget hearing in August has also been increased to a 3 percent COLA for all employees. Commissioner Dee McKee reluctantly supported the measure.
McKee’s doubts centered on long-term sustainability of the COLA beyond when federal funds run out, a sentiment shared by fellow commissioner Pat Weixelman, who had no problem paying out the premium payment but prefers capping any future COLA increases at no more than 2.5 percent.
Commission Chair Greg Riat supported the COLA increase, saying it would benefit the county’s recruitment and retention efforts.
The increased COLA equates to approximately $148,000, paid out of ARPA funds. Initially, the commission had considered a $750 premium payment but decided on a lesser amount in favor of increasing the COLA.
In another ARPA fund decision Monday, the commission agreed to set aside $10,000 in funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment for emergency personnel.
Doing so allows the health department, emergency management and others to replenish the stock of masks, gowns, and other equipment, crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Department Director Leslie Campbell.
Because of the inability to stockpile and other entities needing PPE, Campbell says they’ve flown through their allotments.
Commissioners were unanimous in their decision Monday.