County sets budget for veterans' services position
OSCEOLA COUNTY — Though applications will be accepted until Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Osceola County Board of Commissioners set a budget for the new veterans services director at its Sept. 1 meeting.
County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol discussed the topic, saying the position has been posted on the county website and throughout local Veterans of Foreign War posts. The job is part time, but depending on need, the county could decide to hire a second part-time employee. In addition, she said the county may be able to apply for a $10,000 grant, since the position will be in actual office space provided by Michigan Works! Commissioners approved a motion to create the part-time position at $14.51 per hour at their Aug. 18 meeting.
Vander Pol recommended allotting a budget of just under $30,000 for the position, which all commissioners voted to approve. Commissioner Mark Gregory was absent.
In other business, the commissioners continued to discuss the newly established pay scale which was implemented at the Aug. 18 meeting for non-union employees.
The Osceola County Board of Commissioners voted to change its current pay scale to a new system produced following a classification and compensation study, which compared elected official and non-union positions in Osceola County to the same or similar positions in 12 comparable counties in the state. At the August meeting, commissioners approved the change for non-union employees, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
However, the commissioners still need to determine if the county's elected officials and its county coordinator will make the switch, as well as considering pay scale changes for other employees who feel they are not receiving fair compensation with the new scale.
At the Sept. 1 meeting, commission chair Larry Emig reiterated comments he said at the August meeting, adding he believes the benefits county employees receive are some of the best in the area and also believes position rates are fair and raises frequent. The county wants to take care of its employees and he believes it has, Emig said, but added he wishes he heard more appreciation for the benefits he and other commissioners strive to keep unchanged, especially when the county never has laid people off when budgets get tighter.
He added he tries hard to make everyone happy, even though the system can't ever be 100 percent perfect.
"We want to retain people," Emig said. "The longevity here isn't too bad, so we must be doing something right."
He assured attending county employees the board is aware of the faults in the new pay scale concerning some employees and the board members will do everything they can to adjust it and make it right as the budget allows.
The commissioners set a special work session for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, to more thoroughly discuss classification and compensation for elected officials, Vander Pol's position, and for county department heads to advocate on behalf of their employees who believe they will receive less compensation once the new scale is in place.