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Renville County discussing retention bonus for employees

The Renville County Board of Commissioners at its next meeting will take up a proposal for a monetary bonus for county employees. The bonus is being considered to promote workforce retention and to show appreciation to employees.

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The Renville County Board of Commissioners will discuss a possible retention bonus for county employees. Submitted photo.
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OLIVIA — Renville County’s Board of Commissioners is looking to provide county employees with a bonus payment to promote workforce retention.

The commissioners informally agreed at their meeting Jan. 4 to discuss a potential retention bonus at their upcoming meeting.

“It’s something the commissioners want to try for retention and to try to say we appreciate all of our employees,” said Board Chairman Randy Kramer as the proposal was introduced, “we truly do. Here is something that we’re trying to do for you to help you out in tough times."

The commissioners noted during discussions that it is common in the private sector to award employees with a seasonal bonus, but that practice is not so easily done in the public sector. They noted that many businesses offer gifts to employees — everything from steaks and hams to jackets — as a way of saying thanks.

The county’s personnel committee will be recommending a possible monetary bonus for the upcoming discussion. Initial talks had considered amounts from $250 to $400 per employee.

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Commissioner Doug Erickson noted that taxes and other payroll withholdings will reduce the amount an employee receives in pocket. He suggested $250 might not be sufficient due to the reductions. He asked if there are other ways a bonus could be provided to employees to avoid the reductions.

It’s an issue that has been discussed, said Kramer. But he noted that as a governmental entity, the county has no choice but to run a bonus through the payroll system. “It’s the reality.”

The commissioners agreed that they prefer to keep the process simple. The same bonus will be offered to both part-time and full-time employees, and not prorated. Likewise, the bonus will be the same no matter if the employee is paid wage or salary.

Thanks to American Recovery Act funds, the county is in a financial position to provide a retention bonus.

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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