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Proposed assessor's office raises denied at meeting

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- Salary increases promised to Putnam County Assessors Office employees by the former assessor will not go into effect.

Assessor Nancy Dennis approached the Putnam County Council at Tuesday's meeting about raises she said were promised by former assessor Wanda O'Neal.

The problem came to light when the employees got their first paychecks of January at the same payscale as 2010.

Based on the amounts she said the employees were expecting, Dennis put together her own proposal of what the new salaries might be. The money is available in the budget because of an unfilled full time position for which the salary is budgeted.

Dennis also emphasized the extra work her office has been doing for this year's reassessment, balancing fieldwork and office work.

"The people that are there now have really stepped up to the plate and tried to do two jobs," Dennis said.

The office is working on a March 31 deadline to have the process done, and Dennis said her employees feel they are more likely to meet the deadline by continuing at their current pace, rather than hiring a new employee. She worries their motivation will go away without the extra money.

"I have one or two saying, 'If we don't get our raise, why should we try to do double work?'" Dennis said.

The council agreed with Dennis that her people are doing extra work for no more pay, but said this is happening elsewhere in the county -- the highway department, for example. No county employees got raises, and approving these would be a double standard.

"Any other county employee has stepped up to the plate and done what's necessary," councilor Roger Deck said. "There were no raises approved. Period."

"If we allow this to happen, we'd have to give the whole county a raise," councilor Larry Parker said.

Dennis also told the council of problems with doing land reassessment. The Department of Local Government Finance approved the county's use of an outside vendor for the work. However, this would cost approximately $32,000 that is not currently budgeted.

Additionally, the option of Dennis's office handling it in house is next to impossible, considering the July 1 deadline for the process. She said the process should actually have begun last July, but did not.

Her suggestion was to use the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) to do the land reassessment. She estimated this would cut the cost in half, and extend the deadline to November. The deadline extension comes because the original July 1 deadline is actually to PTABOA, with the November deadline being from PTABOA to the state.

Council approved using PTABOA to do the reassessment, with an hourly rate to be set, as well as a maximum amount to be paid for the service.

County highway co-supervisor Clint Maddox requested an additional appropriation of $50,000 for de-icer for the roads. The council denied the request, suggesting instead the money come from a fund transfer from the road and street fund.

Council gave the go-ahead to fill several positions in three departments, including: six part-time dispatchers for 911 dispatch, two part-time positions in the clerk's office and one full-time jailer, one part-time jailer and one full-time process server in the sheriff's department.

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You know what? Be glad you have a job!. I get a salary and lately I'm making below minimum wage. If you don't like what you're making, good luck finding a new job right now. Suck it up!

-- Posted by townielove on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 1:31 AM

Absolutely right,townielove!

-- Posted by kubotafan on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 7:24 AM

I hope that they keep this in mind when they assess my property taxes. MOST people have not had raises in several years and hours have been cut. Times are tough all the way around. The county could do what Governor Bayh did back in the early 90's. After 5 long years without a raise, state employees finally got one but they cut our hours from 40 to 37.5 so our checks amounts were identical to before the raises.

-- Posted by rukiddenme on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 8:03 AM

@Benedick: you've lived up to your name with this post. Many of us own our own business or work for a small business that is struggling. Our salaries are based on the success of the business, not on an hourly wage. Think a little before you speak next time, lest you look like "an idiot" yourself.

-- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 10:42 AM

If you promise someone a raise you should maybe check with your account first.Sure they probably have to work a little harder for a while and we applaud them for that. But the rest of us are not getting a raise either. Neither government workers or private sector. It's the economy you know.

-- Posted by check the facts on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 11:25 AM

I applaud the county workers that step up and do more for the same money, I truely wish we had more to give to the hard workers. But I also find it funny that we can not give raises to workers taking on double duties but we can approve 11 more jobs (9 of witch are directly related to the sheriff's department). As far as the county roads are concerned I think most would agree they are in bad shape and something needs done. I have been enlightened to how the cnty hwy is funded without going into to much detail it comes from a state pool and is not hand out fairly. I suggest others to do some research and contact state law makers to make this right.

-- Posted by worrieddaddy on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 12:16 PM

Worrieddaddy,you posted correct info-I thank you.....Hwy.funds generate from vehicle excise tax and fuel tax only!

-- Posted by kubotafan on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:18 AM

NO RAISE! Promised or not! Times are tough for everyone. Do what you gotta do to get by!

-- Posted by bottomline on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:22 AM

Probably some sheriffs dept relatives or buddies needing jobs. Full time jailer one is funny though since a full time position has been promised to a certain part time employee since Fenwick took over,and hasn't made good on it yet.

-- Posted by bornhere68 on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 7:05 PM

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