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Jail staff will see a pair of pay increases this year

Kitsap County jailers will get a two percent raise in July and another 1.2 percent raise in December following an arbitrator's ruling earlier this month.

Preliminary estimates from county officials, prior to the arbitrator's decision, predicted that the ruling could have cost as much as $1.628 million if the county's Corrections Guild had been completely successful. As it stands now, though, the budget impact will not be anywhere near that amount.

"It's an approximate amount, but the cost for implementing the wage increases … is about $52,000," said Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Jacquelyn Aufderheide. "The cost of implementing the medical and dental changes is approximately 40,000, because that's retro-active."

Aufderheide said that the cost increases for benefits is being calculated on a case-by-case basis, since each member of the guild has a unique number of dependents and other factors that are not always identical.

Budget and Finance Officer Amber D'Amato said the county is still crunching numbers, but will be able to implement the pay increases by the July 1 deadline.

"We're still working on it, but haven't finalized anything yet," D'Amato said earlier this week. "We're still waiting for clarification on some of the language on the way everything will be calculated."

Those questions largely revolve around what is known as "me too" language in employment contracts with sergeants and lieutenants at the jail.

"What we call 'me-too clauses' require us to maintain spreads between (both the sergeants and lieutenants) and the people they supervise," Aufderheide said. "But, those calculations are still pretty iffy right now because the contracts with those units are still open in collective bargaining."

Aufderheide said that as a result of the ruling, the "me too" language for the command staffers could possibly come in at an increased cost of $9,000.

The ruling was issued by a panel appointed by the Washington Public Employment Commission that was chaired by Oregon resident Howell L. Lankford. While the panel ruled favorably on the new pay increases, it sided with the county in denying any retroactive increases since the guild's contract expired in 2009. The panel, though, did approve the guild's comp time cap proposal, increasing it from 60 hours to 80 hours

In addition, the panel denied a guild request for longevity pay and more "premium holidays." The guild also asked for a 50 percent sick leave cash-out, but the panel only awarded 25 percent. Lastly, while the county previously agreed to cover 5 percent of increased medical premiums for 2011 and 2012, the panel said that the county must cover 10 percent of the increased costs.

Aufderheide said that the arbitrators recognized the fact that other county employees were hit hard by the recession and took pay freezes, increased furlough days and other concessions. That she said, is a big reason the corrections guild didn't get retro-active pay raises.

"Everoyne has taken a hit," Aufderheide said.

 

 

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