With nursing shortages across the state, the Crow Wing County Board agreed Tuesday to increase the salary for one public health nurse from $16.75 an hour to $18.07 an hour.
The county has had a hard time keeping public health nurses and filling the vacancies.
A county health nurse requested a raise in salary after six months of probation. The salary will be effective Thursday, the end of the sixth-month probation.
Peter Herlofsky Jr., county administrator, said he looked at the number of days and the experience the person has to calculate a fair salary step. He said there are eight public nurses and this one will fall in between them in salary.
Personnel issues became one of Herlofsky's duties, since he came on board with the county.
"I'm comfortable with this (the salary increase)," said Commissioner Ed Larsen. "The rationale makes sense."
Chairman Terry Sluss said the county employees are doing a good job and wants them to know that. He also said they should receive comparable worth in salary.
"There are areas where we are struggling and hiring nurses is one of them," he said. "I appreciate Peter looking at this."
The board also agreed to a title change for a lieutenant in the sheriff's department. The new title is an administrative lieutenant. The lieutenant requested this change since the position is no longer a bargaining unit.
This person will also fall under a different salary scale. After one year of service the administrative lieutenant will earn $3,562 a month and then will receive a 4 percent increase in salary over the next six years. The salary was based on the position being designated as "exempt," said Herlofsky.
The commissioners denied requests from the county highway supervisor and the assistant veterans affairs officer for salary increases. Both completed their six-month probations. The county denied the requests because there are no provisions in the collective bargaining agreement and the personnel policy that require a six-month adjustment.
Herlofsky also said the circumstances of these positions do not warrant additional compensations.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.