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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Porter county judges air complaints about employee pay, health insurance"

Amy Lavalley reports in the Gary Post-Tribune in a story that begins:

VALPARAISO — The county’s judges used Wednesday’s budget hearing by the Porter County Council to vent their frustration over the lack of raises for their employees, and a health insurance plan passed earlier in the week by the Board of Commissioners that increases deductibles and co-pays.

Council members have said they will review requests for salary increases at the end of the budget session, once they know how the numbers will shake out, not that that stopped department heads from trying.

But it was the judges who were perhaps the most agitated, as Superior Court Judge David Chidester noted his secretary makes $28,500, “not a living wage,” and said he was going to file a mandate for pay raises.

“It’s coming, and it’s coming from Judge Chidester,” he said.

That didn’t go over with Councilman Dan Whitten, D-At-large, who said after the meeting that he’s taken a stance for getting raises for employees the last few years, and for someone to say they were going to get a mandate is “like a slap in the face.”

“To come in and threaten us really didn’t sit well with me,” he said, adding the council is trying to keep some 90 county budgets running and understands the value of county employees.

Superior Court Judge William Alexa lamented the health insurance changes. While monthly premiums remain the same, the rest of the rates go up, as commissioners try to trim 8 percent to 12 percent from insurance costs.

Alexa said he understood that the county was trying to save money, but they were doing it on the backs of the employees with the insurance changes.

“What’s it going to do? It probably means people won’t go in for routine physical maintenance,” he said.

The commissioners, not the council, made the insurance changes, Whitten said. “I don’t agree with doing savings on the backs of employees and I wouldn’t have voted for it.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 3, 2013 10:53 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts