Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando commission okays raises to boost some lagging salaries

BROOKSVILLE — Salaries for Hernando County government employees lag behind comparable public sector salaries by about 4 percent, according to a study presented to the Hernando County Commission this week.

Commissioners responded by unanimously approving a pay raise plan that will increase salaries for 361 of the county's 745 employees. Of those who will see raises, 275 are employees who make less than $50,000, Adrienne Johnson of Evergreen Solutions told commissioners.

While the study showed that some employees are paid more than their peers, no one will be asked to take a pay cut, Johnson said.

The commission's action was the hot topic on Wednesday during a contract bargaining session between Teamsters Local 79 and county management.

Russ Wetherington, the chief negotiator for the county, said the raises will happen because they are a market adjustment. But John Sholtes, business agent for the Teamsters, said bargaining salaries is the union's job.

Sholtes said he needed more information before he could pass judgment on the raises approved by the commission, but indicated that neither he nor his team would recommend employee approval of any contract that doesn't include pay raises for all employees.

Wetherington said the final value of the pay package approved by the board is between $500,000 and $1 million. To cover the raises, the county will suspend the buyback portion of its paid-time-off program.

Every year, the county budgets money so that employees who have accrued a certain level of extra paid time off can take a portion of that time, at 80 percent of its value, as a cash bonus. But county policy allows the suspension of the program at any time by the County Commission, so next year that benefit will not be available, said George Zoettlein, assistant county administrator for budget.

County officials will be talking in the coming months about how to generate the funds needed for the recurring cost of the higher salaries.

The pay study, which utilized information from eight other similar public-sector employers, used a 30-year career scenario to establish the pay schedule. County staffers are working to place each employee in the appropriate job category, taking into account their experience.

Sholtes told Wetherington that he also was not in favor of creating a pay step plan, where it would take employees 30 years to make the maximum salary. Bargaining over salary will continue on Sept. 11.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didn’t help. Tariffs played a big role, too. Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs las...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Republican response to immigration firestorm; don’t let Yuengling name scare you; Hedman flattered, but unfulfilled

The Daystarter: Republican response to immigration firestorm; don’t let Yuengling name scare you; Hedman flattered, but unfulfilled

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• There’s no more denying it: summer is here. The forecast calls for highs near 90 degrees for the foreseeable future, coupled with afternoon showers, according to 10Weather WTSP.• As y...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG — Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USF’s latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time it’s done.For starters, it...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didn’t help. Tariffs played a big role, too.Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs last month....
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

SAFETY HARBOR — Mayor Joe Ayoub put forth a resolution Monday evening asking the City Commission to condemn cyberbullying.The result? The meeting devolved into shouting and whispering from the crowd and people storming out of chambers.The mayor’s res...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

For the second year in a row, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is asking state regulators to approve hefty rate hikes because of an abundance of non-weather claims that end up in court. If approved, the average rates for homeowners covered by Citize...
Published: 06/20/18
County blocks proposed sailing center on Dunedin Causeway

County blocks proposed sailing center on Dunedin Causeway

DUNEDIN —When the city’s local planning agency gave initial approval to a proposed sailing center on the Causeway in December, Kim Begay feared the worst. The sandy beach to the west of the vacant lot at the corner of the Causeway and Woodette Drive ...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago