A commission study on the county's compensation and benefits packages has been postponed indefinitely.
The holiday season brings many gifts, including annual merit pay for county employees. But due to entry- and low-level attrition, some employees were in danger of losing that bonus.
On Monday, however, Douglas County commissioners approved a proposal by Administrative Director Pam Madl that will allow three employees affected by the attrition to receive merit pay.
"We are facing this year a more significant dilemma with the application of our merit policy than we have faced in the past," Madl told commissioners.
Under the current policy, employees are ranked based on job performance and number of years with the county. Only employees serving the county for more than one year are considered for merit pay.
When employees leave the county, new employees who are hired are added to the ineligible pool and each employee with more than a year of service is lowered in ranking.
"This is an opportunity for those making a special effort to be recognized financially," Commissioner Mark Buhler said. "The pure math of the situation caused them to not get merit pay."
Madl's proposal would allow the three employees dropped from the merit pay rolls via attrition to get the bonus.
"What we're trying to avoid is penalizing those people," she said.
Commissioners Tom Taul and Dean Nieder said they objected to the merit pay policy.
"I'm not an advocate of the merit system," Taul said. "We're going to talk about that later, but this is a fair way to deal with it now."
The commission had scheduled a work session for Monday morning to review county compensation and benefits but postponed the session indefinitely. The study would seek out and adjust any inequities in how the county pays its employees across departments.
"We're not ready. It's a bigger job than we thought," Nieder said. "It just takes time."
Commissioners plan to continue independently studying the current compensation system and will hold a public work session at a later date.
-- Selena Stevens' phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.