The Faulkner County Quorum Court approved a 3 percent cost of living raise for all county employees, one year after giving employees a one-time bonus instead of a raise.
Although there was confusion about when the last raise was given, it was believed that no raise was given in 2010 and the last raise given was in 2009. The court actually approved a 4 percent raise in 2010 but nothing outside of a $600 bonus in 2011.
According to Faulkner County Treasurer Regina Oakley, the various departments’s budgets allowed the court to approve the raise this year.
"We are definitely in shape to do this," Oakley said. "We were not last year, but we can do this now, and it is prudent that we do."
The court is looking into a survey that would compare employee salaries with others of similar size, but results were not available before the vote. Conflicting views on the salaries of sheriff’s department deputies as opposed to other counties forced JPs to request a survey of comparable salaries.
One department that will have to amend its salary increase request will be the Faulkner County Library. The library’s request for cost of living raises was tabled in order for the request to be changed. The library department does not fall under the court with the other departments and must make its request separate.
The initial request from the library was brought to the Finance and Administration Committee, but the request was for a 6.9 percent increase. That was changed to a 3 percent increase and passed to the court. The proposed ordinance was tabled in order to remove the library director from the group of salary increases. Several JPs were concerned that the library director’s salary was higher than other department heads.
In other business, the court passed an ordinance to provide reimbursements for county employees for food and travel expenses. The ordinance was updated from 10 years ago with a daily increase of $15 for in state travel and an increase of $25 for out of state travel.