The Jackson County Commission approved a one-time pay increase for all county employees at its regular meeting Monday afternoon. All county employees and elected officials will receive a $600 bonus.

Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said the main reason for giving employees this raise was because the county has only been able to give one three percent raise in seven years.

He said they had to do something to help retain employees. Guffey said the county has lost over 40 employees since Oct. 1, and the cost to conduct interviews and train new employees keeps rising.

“I wish we could do more, but at this this time this is all we can do,” said Guffey.

This pay increase was brought up at the commission’s work session last week, and District 2 Commissioner Jason Venable proposed the one time pay raise to come out of the county’s cash balance.

District 1 Commissioner Danny Rich said he was okay with the proposal, and said the commission has to do something to keep employees happy, motivate them and show them the commission appreciates them.

At last week’s work session, District 4 Commissioner Mike Sisk said he would like to figure out a way to give employees another 3% raise like they did last year. Sisk said he has received many phone calls about it.

Venable said he would also like to give a full pay raise, but he said he does not see how he can add an obligation like that to the county’s bottom line. Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said a 3% raise across the board would equal about $200,000 every year. Venable said they just do not have the money for that right now.

Last week, Sisk said the employees he has spoken with said they love their jobs, but they need more to be able to bring home to their families. Rich asked if the commission could give more than $500, and Guffey said he would have HR so some numbers to check and see how much the commission could give its employees.

The original proposal was for all permanent employees who are out of the six-month probationary period would a $500 raise. Guffey said they chose $600 because employees would take home around $500 after taxes. Guffey said the total cost of the one-time bonus cost would be around $90,000 for the county.

Guffey said the legislative delegation goes back into session in February, and he is hopeful they will come up with a plan to fix the county’s problem. He said the county is having so much trouble retaining employees, and the one-time pay raise is the only thing the commission can do at this point.

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