Pay increases set for Health Department in 2012

Auglaize County Health Department employees can expect pay raises in 2012, although those rates won’t be applied uniformly.
Auglaize County Health Board members voted Tuesday to revise the pay range schedule for the department and set new pay rates for its 29 employees in 2012.
Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons said with the previous pay range schedule set in 2000 and last updated in 2005, salaries no longer fell in line with averages around the state so it was time to make a change.
“When we reviewed the results of a statewide pay rate survey of health departments, we could see our pay rates were getting pretty much out of line,” Parsons said.
While an independent study had been conducted by the department two years ago, Parsons said no action was ever taken because of the economic downturn.
The new salary schedule has nine ranges (down from 20) with multiple classifications taking into account employees’ education, experience and duties.
“We adjusted hiring rates for those ranges to be closer to statewide averages,” Parsons said.
Two components — the adjustment of the schedule and cost of living — were considered to determine each person’s pay increase for 2012.
“Hopefully, this will get people closer to what pay rates are for those positions at other health departments,” Parsons said. “All of our ranges were below statewide averages, but some were way, way below.
“We tried to adjust them according to how far they were off,” she said.
Health Department employees last received a pay increase of 1.5 percent in 2010. They received no pay increase in 2011.
“I appreciate the board taking time and consideration to look into statewide surveys to make sure that our people are paid fairly compared to other similar health departments in the state,” Parsons aid.
In determining the salary schedule, board members looked closely at the salaries of employees at 15 health departments of comparable size to Auglaize County.
To save the department costs overall, employees are expected to pay more into their health insurance in 2012.
Parsons said the board opted to stay with the same health insurance provider but at a higher deductible — $500 more at $3,000 for single coverage and $1,000 more at $6,000 for families.
“If we renewed our current plan it was set to increase over 20 percent,” Parsons said. “By switching plans it will increase a little over 15 percent so we’ll save a little bit there.”
She said through retirements and staff attrition, the department is expecting to pay about the same in 2012 for health insurance that it did in 2011, as they expect to be insuring fewer people.
Holidays for 2012 will follow federal holidays, resulting in 11 days off throughout the year for staff, with the exception of Veterans Day, which employees work and then are off Christmas Eve, as they requested in the past.
In other business, board members approved an increase to Risk Level Food Service License fees to take affect immediately.
Auglaize County Environmental Health Director Curt Anderson said they have received no input on the changes during the public review period.
The fee increases range from $40 at the lowest level up to $75, with new fees ranging from $140 to $800.
All businesses to be impacted by the changes were notified of them in writing before they were approved.
Board members also issued a seven-day order to Rhythm and Brews, 09891 County Road 33A, to pay $40 for a water sample lab fee taken in July. After three written notices and a phone call, Anderson said it was necessary to take this step to recoup the annual fee.