JFS hikes bosses' pay in midst of union talks

The interim director of Huron County's Job and Family Services (JFS) said almost $42,000 in raises for 10 administrators and supervisors were simply "equity adjustments" that were long overdue. "We had supervisors that were supervising individuals that were paid more than they were," Lowell Etzler, interim director, said. "They've been out of line for quite a number of years."
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

The interim director of Huron County's Job and Family Services (JFS) said almost $42,000 in raises for 10 administrators and supervisors were simply "equity adjustments" that were long overdue.

"We had supervisors that were supervising individuals that were paid more than they were," Lowell Etzler, interim director, said. "They've been out of line for quite a number of years."

Ten of the department's 21 supervisors and administrators got raises ranging from more than $10,000 to $1,600.

Amy Leibold received the largest raise of $10,150, about 25 percent, making her the fourth highest-paid administrator, according to information provided to the Reflector by the department. Etzler said she is in the department's financial area.

Chris Robertson, a work force supervisor, received an $8,000 raise. Charlene Steffani, a supervisor in child support, received a $5,400 raise and Michelle Daniel, also a supervisor in child support, received a $4,300 raise.

Janet Poyer, Brian Lindsley, Connie Leimbach, Alice Hamons, Lenora Minor and Jeanne Fisher also received raises. (See the box accompanying this article).

Etzler said the raises had been planned for some time and estimated the raises only increased total salaries for administration by about 3 percent. "If you compare it to the job they're doing and the responsibilities they have, I'd say it was in line," Etzler said. "They were way underpaid," in comparison to JFS workers in surrounding counties, he added.

"In the whole realm of reorganization, this was a part of the total reorganization," said Etzler, who makes $58,000 for his JFS position. "There are still some adjustments planned," he said, but they will probably not affect salaries.

Nancy Brown, administrator of the child support area, retired in September, and Etzler said the position will not be filled at this time. She earned $55,700 per year.

Another six supervisors or administrators were given longevity raises, which Etzler said are required by federal civil service regulations. Five of these administrators received five cents per hour raises, while one received a 20 cents per hour longevity raise. The 20-cent per hour raise amounts to $416 annually.

JFS has been negotiating with union employees since their contract ran out at the end of June. 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.

Etzler said he has no idea how the news of raises for administrators will factor in to 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."

In August, three positions were elimated in a move that agency officials said had to "do 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.

The job cuts were the latest in a series of shakeups at the JFS agency, which came under public scrutiny following high-profile cases involving Michael and Sharen Gravelle and Paul Efaw. Earlier this year, Etzler was named interim director, temporarily replacing Erich Dumbeck, who resigned. Then, Teresa Alt was appoined to replace David Broehl as program administrator of the children services unit.

In August, a screener was fired for allegedly threatening one of the agency's clients and using computer equipment to access pornography. In response, she sued JFS. The case is set to go to trial in July.

Comments

You gotta be ki...

25 PERCENT - $10,150...as a Huron Co taxpayer, I resent this type of raise and am very offended by it, as we all should be. Hey Amy, what kind of education do you have to justify this type of pay, and Chis, how about you, $8,000. How come you any Amy received the most?? Hey, Commissioners, how and what the heck?????

Margaret (Anonymous)

Unfair Labor Practice was filed because the Agency said they consider the negotiations over. They consider there is already a contract. Mr. E has made comments in the paper at least twice the Agency is still in negotiations.He states they still have something on the table. Sounds like the old guy is talking out of 2 sides of his mouth. It also sounds like more waste of tax monies on lawyers to file such a claim. They either have or do not have a contract. All wages are public information. We must understand the average wage at the Agency is $11.57/hr. Yes that caseworker you curse at for not authorizing foodstamps for you because you are not providing the information the Ohio Revised Code says you have to has a hourly wage of $11.57/hr on average. They get 5 cents more per hour after they have been there for several years. Check out the wages at the Auditor's office. Overtime?? Hardly ever in 3 of the 4 units. Only Children Service Worker have overtime on a some what regular basis since they are called out to work in the middle of the night and on weekends. So please Mr. E, do not insult the public saying you gave $42,000.00 out because some employees were making more than their supervisors. That is horse pucky and the records at the Auditor's Office will confirm. Thank you Mr. E. for at least being partially correct. You made mention to the wages in surrounding counties. Erie County Caseworkers make $15.00/hr compared to $11.57/hr for Huron County. How can you actually look these women in the eye every day?
Heck yes clients complain. No one wants to follow rules.
No one wants to be told what they have to do inorder to receive foodstamps. This is 2007. The old days of walking in and getting what you want are over. Now if you are abel you will work off those foodstamps. You sit there making $3.50 /hr less than a worker in Erie and even less than other counties and hear client after client accuse you of being rude, unjust, screaming, etc.and still rather than just caving in the caseworker follows the rules laid down by the State of Ohio. Then you know there are people in the same building getting "equity adjustments" .....I would hope the financial workings of the county are brought to light soon. Public information will be obtained and quite a bit has been already.

No kidding (Ano...

Amy-education??? Heck, she's a nice person but not too bright. I hear she dropped out of an English and Math class last year because she was not receiving a grade high enough to be paid for by some grant. Chris--smart yes but Mr. Know it all for sure. He will have a good education by the time the County is finished paying his schooling. Put that amount on top of his raise.

WOW (Anonymous)

HaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaaaaaaa That's a real slap in the face. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Can do basic ma...

The "equity raises" are actually increasing total administration salaries by 5%. Get all of their salaries and figure it our for yourself. And this article doesn't mention that every administration employee will be granted a raise once the union settles its contract, so some of the workers that just received the "equity adjustment" will be getting another pay increase in the near future.

I can do math t...

If you cut $172K and add $42K it looks like they are saving the county $130K a year. That doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. Let's see what the workers who have been holding out since June get if they ever sign a contract.

just be fair (A...

I've always believed if you're doing the work you should be compensated. I don't have all the information, but if the elimination of some positions meant employees have picked up additional responsibilities and workload, then pay them for it.

Sounds like to ...

they fired the wrong people.

Lil Wayne (Anon...

Now go and get your money little buffle bag boy. Say get and get your money little duffle bag boy

I think it is g...

These people deserve a raise, they work hard to try and keep those eligibilty workers working. Maybe now those slackers will get to work and approve people for benefits instead of sleeping with bosses and using their work computers to write here. GET BACK TO WORK SLACKERS

green eyes (Ano...

They are giving the wrong group of people the "equity pay" The workers who are actually working and coming up with the solutions and earning the county the awards should be compensated so that their wages reflect the usual and customary of surrounding DJFSes.

re sounds to me...

Oh they fired the right people alright. Marla the drunk and Jon the tyrant. This office is better off without them. Take notice old Jobs workers, you still could be next.

re green eyes (...

THEY DON'T DESERVE A RAISE, THE ELIGIBLITY WORKERS DON'T EARN THEIR PAY. THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THIS WONDERFUL RAISE DESERVE IT. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

green eyes (Ano...

oh, they deserve it alright. however, the actual workers deserve it more.

re green eyes (...

you don't have clue as to what goes on in there, I do. They do deserve the raise and I hope the scum bag union fails on getting them anything

green eyes (Ano...

why would you know more than me what goes on there?

Makes Sense (An...

If you want quality people you have to pay a quality wage.

green eyes (Ano...

makes sense..that is very sensible of you

Re green eyes (...

I work there oh smart one

green eyes (Ano...

do you REALLY work..or do you have your minions do the work for you and claim the accolades as your own?

to Re green eye...

You work there? How intersting. So let's see. You call the Union scum bag and all the workers except one are in the Union. Oh now I get it. You are Amy. Just spreading some cheer same as your friends "spread the warmth" to you last year? Or could it be ..... It is one of those special equity people who purchased a home computer. Such increases, not raises as they will come later, approved by the Commissioners 5 days before the Union voted on the contract. Stupid. Beware. Public records are out there and people holding those records do have friends at JFS. Did you really think public records could be hidden forever?

green eyes (Ano...

No one who truly worked there would admit it that freely unless they were one of the hallowed few who's salary had been published..because they feel protected and cocky.

green eyes (Ano...

Wasn't there a song ...hmmm "Don't it make my green eyes red?"

I'm not jealous...

I have a good paying job with outstanding benefits, why would ANYONE in their RIGHT MIND be jealous with the likes of YOU? They fired the wrong people. PERIOD.

I STILL SAY (An...

THEY FIRED THE WRONG PEOPLE, AND JUDGING MY YOUR REMARKS, THEY SHOULD HAVE FIRED YOUR COCKY SNOTTY A$$. LOSER.

green eyes (Ano...

My cocky @$$ attitude may be the results of what I've experienced from slackers such as yourself. So take your equity pay and put it where it belongs...to the actual workers!

Rich (Anonymous)

Nothing as funny as a gov't worker calling someone a slacker. I say let the union strike,close the place down, and see if anyone misses it.

green eyes (Ano...

there would be a plethora of people who would be upset if DJFS closes. besides which, DJFS would never have to close because the article contains a list of who's who that will keep the place running smoothly.

Shame on them (...

What do they get paid for? After my dealing with all the agencies at Job and Family Services (support and protective services). I can definitly see how children coulld live in cages in this county, because they don't want to get involved! They can't track down information even when it is handed to them.

swiss family......

are you kidding me?? raises!! after the way they fumbled up the Gravelle kids, and Conre Dixon, and now they get a raise?? I would be too ashamed to take the increase in pay if i were them. great job guys!!!

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