Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — With budget season approaching, Washington County Board of Health officials said they were considering raising pay for county public health staff at a meeting Thursday.
“Local public health departments have been some of the lowest paying health care related jobs, versus if you go to the private sector,” Interim Public Health Director Chris Estle said to the board. “Even if you don’t give a raise when the budget year rolls around, July 1, that money still needs to be in our budget, regardless of when you want to give the raise, because you won’t get a budget amendment for a salary increase, that’s just how it works, those things tend to make people angry.”
Board of Health member Chris Grier agreed.
“I know our team is really good, and I think there’s some inequity with pay rates based on experience and qualifications compared to others around us,” he said. “I look forward to getting it sorted out.”
The move comes on the heels of across-the-board raises for county ambulance staff from the Board of Supervisors, which sets the budget and approves pay for all county departments.
Board of Health member Jack Seward Jr., who is also on the Board of Supervisors, said gathering information early would be key.
“That’s the kind of thing that needs to come not at budget time, because at budget time that’s generally where we’re talking about the 2-4% cost of living raise,” Seward said. “The ambulance was adjusted now, but they’re not going to get the 2-4%. Those are some of the things we’re thinking about, but I totally agree, we need to look at your wage scale.”
Seward also suggested a finance committee appointed by the Board of Health chair, which he said would help streamline the process.
“You (would) know what’s going into that thing before you come to the Board of Health with a budget saying, ‘Approve this please,’” he said. “It should include probably staff and members of the board.”