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Wage study recommends raises for many Porter County government employees

Porter County IN government website

A new wage study has found that many Porter County government employees are underpaid.

Addie Rooker with consulting firm Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele, and Associates presented findings and recommendations to the county council Tuesday. She said the county doesn't currently have a formal job classification system.

"That makes it impossible — nearly impossible to justify why Sam is paid one way and Joe is paid another way," Rooker told council members.

Rooker said Porter County is most competitive when it comes to paying its police officers, but there's currently little difference between ranks. "You want an incentive for the employees to move up to the next classification or to take on more responsibilities. So there's not much pay difference at a 1.5-percent pay differential," she added.

Meanwhile, other departments have large pay discrepancies for employees doing similar work. Overall, restructuring the county's pay classifications and bringing pay levels up to the external midpoint would mean an 8.7-percent increase in salary costs for the county. The study looked at wages only, not perks and benefits.

Council President Jeremy Rivas felt the study was long overdue. "We definitely can do things. We have and continue to do things for our employees," Rivas said.

Council members agreed to form a three-member committee to review the study and recommend some next steps, as the county starts working on its 2023 budget.