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CENTER LINE - Give me equity adjustments for all

bigjoe • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

In honor of election day, I thought I would take a straw poll of my own.

Now be honest.

Everybody out there who thinks they should be paid more money at work raise your hand.

Everybody who doesn't, raise your hand.

Anybody? Anybody?

Just what I thought. The ayes have it.

We'd all love to make more money, of course. With that in mind, where do I sign up to work for the Huron County Job and Family Services?

The department recently handed out almost $42,000 in raises for 10 administrators and supervisors.

Did I say raises? Sorry. They are called "equity adjustments."

That's like when schools fire their coaches. They really aren't "fired," administrators will tell you, because coaches generally are on one-year contracts. Coaches are simply "non-renewed."

That's like when your wife tells you it wouldn't "be in your best interest" to go out drinking with the boys. We all know what that means.

JFS has been negotiating with union employees since their contract ran out at the end of June. Interim director Lowell Etzler said JFS has filed an unfair labor practice against the union, so he declined to discuss the progress of negotiations. He said he is waiting to hear if the state Labor Relations Board will grant a hearing on the agency's filing.

In August, three positions were eliminated in a move that agency officials said was about doing "more with less and being more efficient." The JFS allocation for the fiscal year 2008 was reduced by $411,000, according to information from the agency, and the three cuts were supposed to save the agency $172,701.

Etzler said he has no idea how the news of raises for administrators will factor into negotiations. He would not reveal the latest offer on the table for the union to consider. "I won't even discuss that," he said. "We're still in the process of negotiations."

I have a pretty good idea how this will affect things. In this day and age of 3-percent raises (if your are lucky), the 25-percent raise one of the JFS administrators received would be pretty tough to defend.

Etzler said there were "supervisors that were supervising individuals that were paid more than they were ... they (salaries) have been out of line for quite a number of years."

Let's review: the department eliminated three positions in August to save money, then turns around and gives a good chunk of it back. Hmm.

I am going to drop a note to my boss, Andy Prutsok, and see about one of these "equity adjustments."

Let's see. I've been here almost 30 years and I really work hard. I just turned 50 and I'd really like to retire before I die. A couple of kids in college. One just graduated. New roof. A new van would be nice. Yeah, I think I need more money. I know times are tough, but there's got to be some extra money somewhere you can give me.

How about this. We could eliminate some positions. There's got to be a couple of people out there who we can do without. They can find other jobs. There's plenty of work out there (wink, wink).

Seriously, I'd love to sit in on those JFS negotiations. I'm not sure, but wouldn't it have been better to get a new contract signed before handing out the "equity adjustments?"

So I'll be waiting to hear from my boss. I'm sure when I open my next check I'll find my "equity adjustment" inside.

Or maybe that will be an attitude adjustment. I don't think it would be "in my best interest" to push my luck, or I might just find myself "non-renewed."

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