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March 17, 2014
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GarCo workers to see merit raises up to 2.3%

Garfield County government employees can expect to see pay raises this year based on their job performance, according to a pay and benefits plan approved by county commissioners on Monday.

The plan calls for a wage increase of up to 2.3 percent for workers who perform at the top of the county’s merit pay system, or “exceptional” based on their annual job performance review.

Employees still developing or proficient in their skills can expect to see anywhere from a 1.5 percent to 2 percent pay increase, according to the wage plan that’s set to take effect in June.

And, those workers that are determined by their supervisors to be inconsistent in performing their job duties will not be in line for a pay hike.

The anticipated increase in pay for county workers is expected to cost an additional $381,592 this year. Wage increases were already budgeted for the year, but are not formally enacted until mid-year.

Commissioners also approved a recommendation by county human resources director Katherine Ross to increase the overall pay structure by 1 percent in order to bring wages for county workers in line with other county governments in the region.

That just means that any Garfield County workers determined to be below the minimum wage for their job would be brought up to that level, Ross said.

“It’s not a 1 percent pay raise for everyone,” she clarified. “It’s an adjustment that keeps us in line with what’s going on in the market.”

Gone are the days of annual pay raises in the 9 to 10 percent range that used to be common, Ross also said. The lower rate of increases is likely to be the norm as long as health care costs for county employees continue to increase.

Also approved by the commissioners on Monday was a 9.5 percent annualized increase in the county health, dental and vision insurance premium costs for county employees who sign on to the health plan.

The increase is less than the 14 percent projected for budgeting purposes last fall, but is still significant. The increase follows a similar hike in health care premium costs last year, Ross said.

Last year, Garfield County had more than $7.9 million in paid insurance claims for county employees, on slightly less than $7.3 million in premiums paid, according to Ross’s annual insurance utilization report.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 18, 2014 09:47PM Published Mar 17, 2014 07:48PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.