Pay raises for county employees increased by more than 15 percent compared to the private sector in the past four years, a review by the Washington Examiner found.
The 29.7 percent total increase was fueled by yearly cost-of-living increases as high as 4.5 percent and in-grade pay increases of 3.5 percent. The consumer price index rose 12 percent, while private sector pay increased by 14 percent during the period, according to county data compiled by the Office of Human Resources. The data applies to the more than 60 percent of employees who received in-grade pay increases.
Councilman Phil Andrews said the high percentage stands out in a negative way. He told the Examiner much of the increases started while former County Executive Doug Duncan was negotiating labor contracts in the run-up to the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Andrews said that after Duncan's run, union contracts that increased by 30 percent in three years became the norm. The firefighters union negotiated a contract with Leggett two years ago that included a 10.5 percent raise for most employees starting in July. That increase isn't included in Leggett's proposed budget.