The Flathead County Commissioners at their Jan. 11 meeting voted unanimously to increase wages for all county employees by 4%. The adjustment was recommended by the county’s compensation board and will take effect on Feb. 4.
“We had several of our department heads in, talking about their issues with keeping people, finding people and just retaining staff,” said Commission Chair Pam Holmquist.
The mid-year increase is the first time county employees have seen their pay grade go up outside the normal budgeting process in two decades, according to Human Resources Director Tammy Skramovsky, and it marks the largest bump in pay since a 4% cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment in 2008. Skramovsky pointed out that as opposed to the annual COLA increase, the mid-year increase is specifically to aimed at addressing hiring and employee retention at countywide agencies.
The commissioners voted for the increase with several conditions to ensure it also applies to elected officials, union workers in the health department and sheriff’s department, the county’s standard pay matrix, the county attorney’s pay matrix, as well as to all longevity and step increases.
“The county’s super efficient. We have a great workforce but a small workforce and there’s not a lot of bench strength,” said Flathead County Administrator Pete Melnick. “We need every person on board. We need everybody here to provide the service that our county public expects.”
County officials’ salaries following the raise are:
- Clerk of District Court: $79,406
- County Treasurer/Assessor: $79,406
- Justice of the Peace, Dept. 1: $91,353
- Justice of the Peace, Dept. 2: $91,353
- Clerk/Recorder/Surveyor: $79,406
- County Commissioners: $79,406
- Sheriff /Coroner: $102,561
- Superintendent of Schools: $79,406
- County Attorney: $123,210
In September, the commissioners approved the fiscal year 2022 budget with a 2% COLA adjustment for all employees.
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