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Renville County employees to receive $500 retention bonus

The Renville County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 11, 2022, approved the one-time retention bonus for all full- and part-time employees as a gesture of support for their work.

Renville County Courthouse
Renville County employees will be receiving a $500 retention bonus.
Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune file photo

OLIVIA — Renville County employees will be receiving a $500 retention bonus.

The Renville County Board of Commissioners at its Jan. 11 meeting unanimously approved the retention bonus. It will be awarded to all full- and part-time employees who are employed during the period of Jan. 1 to April 1.

“This just goes to show that we respect what they’re doing,” said County Board Chair Randy Kramer during discussions leading up to the vote.”We know that it is difficult out there through this pandemic.”

The proposal for a retention payment has been long in the works, according to Kramer. The county’s personnel committee was asked to develop a proposal, and it has been vetted with employee bargaining unit representatives. Providing a retention bonus in the public sector is more difficult than doing so in the private sector, the chairman noted.

Portrait of Randy Kramer, 2022 chairman of Renville County Board in Renville County, Minnesota
Randy Kramer
Contributed

The commissioners indicated support for a retention bonus during discussions one week earlier. A county personnel committee recommended a bonus of $400 per employee, which would have cost the county an estimated $75,000, according to County Administrator Lisa Herges.

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Commissioner Doug Erickson asked what it would take to move the bonus to $500. The commissioners agreed to do so despite some concerns about not following the committee’s recommendation.

Commissioner Greg Snow, a member of the personnel committee, said he didn’t feel the committee would object to a different amount.

“We don’t have any magic bullet answers,” he said in reference to selecting the right amount.

The commissioners said they are hopeful that the benefit will boost morale and serve as an appropriate gesture of support for county employees.

Kramer pointed out that working during the pandemic has been a struggle for everyone. He felt it was important to provide the same bonus across the board to employees no matter their compensation level or work area.

“I don’t think it is any less of a struggle for somebody making a lower grade than somebody on a higher grade. The struggle is the same.”

The commissioners said they view the bonus as a one-time benefit. The availability of monies from the American Rescue Plan Act has benefited the county’s financial position. It was also noted that the benefit may be budget neutral as the county is not at a full staffing level.

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
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