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County comparing employee salaries to private sector

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Chippewa County (WQOW) - In an effort to stretch every dollar, we're hearing this question more often:  what should a pay raise be based on: performance, longevity, inflation, all of the above?  To get an answer, Chippewa County will start by comparing its own employee salaries to those in the private sector. 

"What we need to do is improve competitiveness and attract people to Chippewa County, as well as retain our current people here," says Chippewa County Administrator Frank Pascarella.

So the county decided to hire a firm to conduct a study, comparing the wages of their 300 or so employees, with other counties, and also, with private sector jobs.

"We've been fairly successful in getting some private sector comparables, let's say with areas, like within the nursing, social workers, etc., some areas. Other areas it's going to be impractical to get comparables when you're talking about dispatchers or some positions within the county," Pascarella says.

The county board decided against wage increases this year, but has set aside $250,000 dollars. They'll use results from the study, to keep salaries competitive.

"That would bring people to the market, you can call them raises, you can call them salary adjustments, says Pascarella.

The county is also making another change. Instead of adjusting pay rates with inflation, raises will now be based off how well an employee performs their job.

"Our position is we want to maintain some competitiveness in the market and pay people, and keep good people here, and pay people for the work that they do," says Pascarella. "The focus is on maintaining and keeping your rising stars in the organization, and maybe it allows us to attract younger people into the public sector, which is something that is needed... you know, we don't need a bunch of us old timers hanging around."

The county hopes to have the $50,000 study completed by July. They'll be adjusting salaries after that, and then implementing the performance-based raises for the next several years. The county plans to re-evaluating salaries every 4 to 5 years.

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