Riley County Commissioners on Monday unanimously approved mid-year pay increases for county employees, effective July 1.
The increase will include a fiscal impact of $1.2 million in the 2022 budget, and includes over $860,000 in salaries and nearly $340,000 in benefits. The county says its part of a strategy to improve employee retention and recruitment, dependent on the current market value as determined by evaluation of job responsibilities and comparable compensation.
To fund it, Riley County will capture existing funds, previously approved for the 2022 budget which are the result of higher than usual employee turnover. That includes unused benefits that have accumulated from a number of unfilled positions in multiple departments.
Human Resources Manager Elizabeth Ward says the current inflation rate was also a deciding factor.
The end goal is to get all wages up to the current market value. Human Resources Manager Elizabeth Ward says she is confident that the year end rate will get the county back to competitive rates.
The pay increase for this year will be for all current employees, with the next phase looking at each department and each position within to determine the pay.
While the pay increase applies to all current employees, anyone hired after the implementation date of Jul 1 will start at that new rate.
Before approval, Commissioner John Ford showed concern with the current rate of inflation, meaning they may have to come back to this discussion again.
Budget Finance Officer Darell Edie responded, saying he understands this notion, but the county needs personnel to provide county services, otherwise there are more issues. From what he has seen, the county has that, but this program is being used to maintain that and fill in the gaps.
The second phase of the salary increase proposal will be included in 2023 budget discussions, which will begin in June.