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3-year Kandiyohi County, Minn., employee contract includes slight pay hike

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved three-year contracts Tuesday for union employees and the salary scale for non-union employees that include a modest bump in salary each year.

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The agreement includes a 2 percent salary increase for 2012, a 1 percent increase in 2013 and a 1.5 percent increase in 2014.

The increase comes after three years of financial sacrifices and compromises by county workers.

County employees had a hard freeze in salary and benefits this year, and in 2010 their cost-of-living increase was cut in half and they were required to take two days off without pay. In 2009, employees took a one-day unpaid furlough.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl said the employees "came to the table" and "stepped up" to help the county cut costs.

The county has 394 employees, according to Kleindl. About half are non-union workers and the others are members of the Law Enforcement Labor Services union or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

The commissioners also approved a 2 percent pay increase for themselves to bring their annual salary next year to $28,702. The commissioners have not had an increase in pay since 2008.

The per diem commissioners receive for attending additional meetings will remain unchanged at $70.

Chairman Dean Shuck said it was fair to raise the salary by the same percent that county employees receive but said the per diem should not be increased.

The commissioners are required by law to set their salary prior to the start of the new year.

A first-ever employee agreement was approved for Kleindl that spells out his duties, compensation, and termination and severance clauses.

Since he was hired in 2006, Kleindl has worked without an official employment agreement.

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract with the city of New London to provide 10 hours of police service a week at a rate of $36.75 an hour.

The new contract is a reduction in service hours.

This year the County Sheriff's Office provided 15 hours a week in winter months and 20 hours a week in the summer.

Kleindl said the county worked hard to keep the costs low and hoped the cities that contract with the county for police service would maintain the same level of hours.

Spicer, Raymond and Pennock have not reduced their hours of service, but Raymond and Pennock currently contract for just 10 hours a week.

Commissioner Richard Larson said information he's received from the Association of Minnesota Counties indicates other small towns across Minnesota are also cutting their police contracts with counties to save money.

In other action the commissioners:

n Eliminated a county permit and $200 fee for burying farm structures, like barns and granaries. Instead a permit-by-rule from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency must be obtained.

n Agreed to set a $20 fee for a five-day marriage waiver, minor marriage application, re-issue/replace marriage license and ministerial credential filings performed at the county recorder's office. The current $5 fees for those services had been in place since 1990. A new $5 fee will be required for emailing documents. The new rates go into effect Jan. 1.

n Approved a Department of Natural Resources block grant agreement of $99,431. The grant reflects a $15,000 reduction from this year's grant for the county feedlot program but an additional $10,000 for the septic program.

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved three-year contracts Tuesday for union employees and the salary scale for non-union employees that include a modest bump in salary each year.

The agreement includes a 2 percent salary increase for 2012, a 1 percent increase in 2013 and a 1.5 percent increase in 2014.

The increase comes after three years of financial sacrifices and compromises by county workers.

County employees had a hard freeze in salary and benefits this year, and in 2010 their cost-of-living increase was cut in half and they were required to take two days off without pay. In 2009, employees took a one-day unpaid furlough.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl said the employees "came to the table" and "stepped up" to help the county cut costs.

The county has 394 employees, according to Kleindl. About half are non-union workers and the others are members of the Law Enforcement Labor Services union or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

The commissioners also approved a 2 percent pay increase for themselves to bring their annual salary next year to $28,702. The commissioners have not had an increase in pay since 2008.

The per diem commissioners receive for attending additional meetings will remain unchanged at $70.

Chairman Dean Shuck said it was fair to raise the salary by the same percent that county employees receive but said the per diem should not be increased.

The commissioners are required by law to set their salary prior to the start of the new year.

A first-ever employee agreement was approved for Kleindl that spells out his duties, compensation, and termination and severance clauses.

Since he was hired in 2006, Kleindl has worked without an official employment agreement.

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract with the city of New London to provide 10 hours of police service a week at a rate of $36.75 an hour.

The new contract is a reduction in service hours.

This year the County Sheriff's Office provided 15 hours a week in winter months and 20 hours a week in the summer.

Kleindl said the county worked hard to keep the costs low and hoped the cities that contract with the county for police service would maintain the same level of hours.

Spicer, Raymond and Pennock have not reduced their hours of service, but Raymond and Pennock currently contract for just 10 hours a week.

Commissioner Richard Larson said information he's received from the Association of Minnesota Counties indicates other small towns across Minnesota are also cutting their police contracts with counties to save money.

In other action the commissioners:

- Eliminated a county permit and $200 fee for burying farm structures, like barns and granaries. Instead a permit-by-rule from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency must be obtained.

- Agreed to set a $20 fee for a five-day marriage waiver, minor marriage application, re-issue/replace marriage license and ministerial credential filings performed at the county recorder's office. The current $5 fees for those services had been in place since 1990. A new $5 fee will be required for emailing documents. The new rates go into effect Jan. 1.

- Approved a Department of Natural Resources block grant agreement of $99,431. The grant reflects a $15,000 reduction from this year's grant for the county feedlot program but an additional $10,000 for the septic program.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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