Tri States Public Radio Staff
Part-Time Wage Hike Likely
Thu August 1, 2013
Lee County Sends Letter to IWD
The Lee County Board of Superivisors is letting the state of Iowa know what it thinks about a plan to cut local services.
The Board sent a letter to Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert on Wednesday, August 1.
It asks the agency to reconsider the decision to keep its Fort Madison office open just two days per week.
IWD said the satellite office in the north Lee County office building would no longer be open five days per week over federal budget cuts.
The letter was going to focus only on the Fort Madison facility, but the board agreed to add language from Supervisors Gary Folluo.
He wanted to remind the agency that this decision follows the closure of IWD's Keokuk office.
"It's important that we resonate that message to them everytime this subject comes up," says Folluo.
The board says the county’s high unemployment rate warrants a full-time office presence.
PART-TIME EMPLOYEE CHANGES
A few Lee County employees could be in line for an increase in pay.
Several departments bring in part-time employees to help during busy times: Election season for the Auditor's office & tax time for the Treasurer's office.
These temporary workers receive 90% of the hourly pay scale for their position, no insurance and no benefits.
The Board of Supervisors appears ready to boost their pay to 100%, which is something Vice-Chairman Ernie Schiller has been pushing for this for years.
"I think we just need to bring it up to speed," says Schiller, "to say, 'job well done, we are not going to double-tax you or double-discount you."
It’s unclear how this would impact part-time county employees who work year-round.
This comes as the board considers penalties for departments if part-time employees work more than 28.5 hours/week.
That could qualify them for benefits under the federal health care law.
The board says several departments have allowed employees to go over the limit in recent weeks, prompting the penalty discussion.
The Lee County Jail will soon have a new high-speed internet service provider as the Board of Supervisors has approved a five-year contract with Danville Telecom.
Chief Deputy Scott Bonar says Danville Telecom already has a line running near the jail so the connection will cost about $6,000.
That cost will be split between the sheriff’s office and the oversight board for Lee County Emergency Dispatch center.
Bonar says the monthly cost will be about $85 cheaper for a more reliable service.
Rep. Kearns Worries of More in Future
Highest in Iowa for October