Discussions and debates continue surrounding retirement, employee recognition

Published 8:19 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Financial Management Committee continued conversations about possible matching contributions to employee retirement plans during their February 3 meeting Monday, this time bringing in an expert to provide some expert opinion.

Tim Crawford, from the state, came to talk with commissioners about what matching retirement contributions would look like, particularly ways to increase participation and awareness.

“We know many people do not check email,” Crawford said.

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Depsite that, he said email is one of the more effective ways of reaching people, so one of his suggestions was a mail-out system over a several-week period.

The committee has been looking at ways to encourage county employees to participate in such retirement plans, with a possible match system being one of them.

“Everyone can spare $10 if they can see the benefit at the end of the rainbow,” Brad Johnson said.

The committee discussed bringing Crawford in to talk with employees roughly once a month, like he already does with Washington County.

“We need to be able to depend on you to help our employees,” Finance Director Brad Burke said.

Continued conversations about a better award system for distinguished employees led to a desire for concrete policies about what such a process would look like.

“We need to come up with that policy on paper,” Travis Hill said.

Though she was absent for Monday’s meeting, Ginger Holdren spoke during January’s Financial Management meeting about the importance of properly honoring employees who go above and beyond their regular duties, whether that be certifications or licenses they obtain.

“They should be recognized in some form or fashion,” Johnson said. “That is the meat of this.”

The committee said the recently started wage compensation study can help them determine what benchmarks they need to work with in order to set up such a policy.

A proposal for a new bonus policy for county employees made its way to the meeting, highlighting, especially, a $500 bonus for employees who reach five years of continuous service in the county.

The policy would also allow for the creation of a specific line item to address such bonuses, alleviating confusion over recent bonuses awarded through individual departments.

Austin Jaynes said it would be necessary to look at the $500 more closely, so the proposed policy will be on March’s agenda.