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.


Re:Green eyes (...

If it would run smoothly with the union on strike it is way overstaffed.Count me in the plethora of those who think it's a waste of money.

Jealous!! (Anon...

I can not believe all that I have read in these comments....you people are jealous,envious and MORONS! Go out right now and try to find a job for $11.57 an hour with benefits, I would give anything to work for JFS and would love to help people in Huron County!!! You don't appreciate what you have or had until you lose it, and then the claws start to come out and the blame goes on everyone who gets a raise, college education or not they still do their JOBS and don't need a UNION to tell them what is right and wrong!!!!!!! Sign the Contract or better yet go on strike and believe me I will be the first one in line to apply for a job when you are out in the COLD holding your signs!! WLYA?

Curious (Anonymous)

How can the County afford to give such "FAT" raises, as the last time I checked the lawsuites are outweighing the County's budget. Better watch your pockets, that moneys coming from somewhere. Hey if it doesn't require a dregee, or in some cases a high school diploma to be in such a prestigious, high paid position, how can an "outsider" get in?? I'll bet it's who you know, not what you know~they should consider themselves Very lucky, especially with those salary figures!!

Truckerpower (A...

You gotta be Kidding : You don't have a clue do you? STFU and get back to work you jealous moron.....

Truckerpower (A...

Bunch of jealous dummies.............

retired (Anonymous)

Since the question was asked, I believe this money comes from state and federal funding. Now, grant it that tax money is tax money, but this doesn't come from county general funding.


They fired the right people, they were useless. Bonnie, Lenora and the rest are hard working and deserve the best

hey (Anonymous)

guess what....we know you want people to comment on Bonnie....just stop the bull and get a life....If you work there you would not want any more crap stirred so it appears you don't have a job.

green eyes (Ano...

I'd like to work at a place that at least had warm water in which the employees could wash their hands after using the facilities.

re hey (Anonymous)

I do have a job and a very good one I work for the goverment. You must really think a lot of yourself to believe you are better than everyone else. I will pray for you, you need it with your God like attitude. I like Bonnie and the rest of the Admin staff. They really do care about the organization as well as most of the staff that work there. They needed to get rid of the dead wood and the trouble makers and they did. There are a few more that need to be fired and it will come. Now take your "I am better than everyone else attitude and you find a job"

hey (Anonymous)

dear green eyes, then go look for a job somewhere else. what's stopping you?

green eyes (Ano...

dear hey, i do have a job elsewhere thank you very much...and guess what?!? I can wash my hands in warm water there! With all the talk of staph infections and the like you would think the building would have to have warm running water for everyone who enters there to clean their hands with after going to the bathroom. Washing your hands in cold water is just not right. My comment was that the raises should go to the front line workers first. I also wrote that management, certain ones, should get raises also. This quote from Mr E in the article is misleading because it leads the public to think workers there earn more than their supervisors..staff is expected to follow a dress code but are not given the compensation that would permit. Furthermore, if you had the same set of circumstances I'll bet you would want your situation to improve too. $11.57 per hour is not a living wage...and neither is $8.00 or $9.00.

hey (Anonymous)

green eyes, if you don't work there how do you know the temperature of the water? and by the way i don't think anyone makes someone stay at place where they feel underpaid. my point is, it is very hard to find jobs these days and 11.57 is not a bad starting wage. also don't these people know what they are getting paid when they accept the job?

me (Anonymous)

who said $11.57 is a startng wage? try years of service, not Starting.

re anti-social ...

you forgot pope optamus another swiss cheese brain name!!

Thankful Client...

Yep, I am client. I have sat in the lobby and watched and listened as client after client went to the window saying I have an appointment but they don't know why or who with.Odd, they got a letter saying why and who with. Some screamed at the lady, some ignored her questions.One man actually pounded on the window. After I got inside I could hear the person next to me tell her caseworker that she did not bring anything with her. She kept saying you go all my stuff already. The caseworker told her this is a review and you know after coming in here every 6 months that you have to bring in current information. The client kept getting louder and told the lady I have to feed my kids and I don't like your attitude. The lady told her then sign the releases and I will get what I can but this may take a week or longer.Again the client got loud and told the lady that she was starving her kids and she was going to make a complaint. It was loud in there and confusing. It was my second time there. My husband broke his hand playing touch football and so he was off work for 6 weeks. Then I got laid off and it was going to be like 3 or 4 weeks before I would get unemployment. I was sure thankful for those food stamps I got and the medical was a god send. I had what my letter told me to bring in and it wasn't a pint of blood. I told my caseworker that I was going back to work next week and no longer would need the food stamps but I would like to keep the medical. I did too. Then she told me about area food banks in case I needed them. I asked how many people she sees in a day. 6-7 a day. So if it takes about 1 hour to see 1 person and she does this 4 days a week while taking phone calls and has one day to do the mail and drop off things, well you do the math. She does not sit around drinking coffee. I got my job last year when I want not even a client. I went to the jobs store. I got money to go to school for 6 weeks and found a good job that I like. I can't remember names and I am sorry that I do not. I am a thankful client. To you thankless clients, bring in what you need, stop complaining, stop screaming, cursing and bitching. As far as those big increases the bosses got, if you work at a factory like my husband and I do you know for a fact that if the foreman is off work, the line still runs smoothly. But if a line worker is off, the line does not run smoothly. If 2 line workers are off then that line does not run at all. Who is more important? The foreman or the lineworker?

re me (Anonymous)

11.57 is the starting wage. You do not know what you are talking about. Go look at official records. There are some who are making $15 an hour or more. Get your facts straight before you spout off.

Hey me (Anonymous)

Have you been working that that long that you don't remember starting wage. I called and was told the starting wage for an eligiblity worker is $11.57 per hour with medical and dental benefits as well as life insurance. That is not bad. They pay $150.00 less a month on benefits than I do with 2 dependants. Before you spout off what you think are facts, pick up the phone and call, it is public record.

green eyes (Ano...

Dear hey..since you wouldn't want more compensation than $11.57 and plus out of that you're willing to pay for both dental and medical over $100 per month on each approximated and you'd enjoy people yelling at you (I'd offer a free sample but I can't right now) and you think washing your hands in ice water after using the bathroom is wonderful and you wouldn't mind that your supervisor making double what you do..why, I believe you'd make a PERFECT candidate. What's stopping YOU from applying for what you say is the ideal situation. I'm sure you could sign off for any future raises, benefits, etc. It may even be the deal maker! I'll even assist you. Address your cover letter and resume to Bonnie and tell her you'd never want anything more than $11.57 per hour. As for how do I know what the water temperature is? There are things called nerve endings and they send messages to your brain that tell you the water is freaking cold. Normally I wouldn't recommend an ice cold blast to anyone but since you're so special to me, feel free to experience it for yourself. The public uses the Department for a variety of reasons so there is much traffic in the building. Why not try first thing tomorrow morning? The building opens the front doors at 8 am. I'm eagerly waiting for you to join the work force out there. Make yourself a nice sign that identifies you as "hey" and we'll chat after you've acclimated yourself to your dream job. It should take a few months although for you it may be longer.

re green eyes (...

Talking out the wrong end of your body. They do not pay over $100.00 per month for each on medical and dental. Before you start spouting off get your facts right. Compared to most jobs in the area $11.57 an hour is good money.

green eyes (Ano...

I do know my facts, that is what they will pay starting when a contract is signed. Feel free to go there and WORK since you think it is so ideal. Go ahead. Make your sign because you sure as heck need one. Get yourself a clue while you are at it. Go ahead "hey", write your cover letter and send your resume. C'mon get started. Dear Bonnie, I do not wish to earn any more than $11.57 per hour and since I won't listen to anyone else's facts but my own I trust that I'll have plenty of money to pay for my dental and medical PLUS dress for the sucess I so richly deserve. I will gladly go to school to brush up on my math skills that are lacking because I can't seem to figure out that it takes more money to buy dress clothes and pay for medical and dental premiums that are more than doubling. Since I'm so intelligent I should be able to learn all there is to know about helping my fellow citizens. Oh wait, I know more than everyone else so I'll teach everyone there for free! That ought to get her attention. Meanwhile go wash your hands. Oh heck, since I'm feeling so generous wash your face and hair too. Maybe then you'll be able to figure out how I would know cold water when I feel it.

Noggin Lopper (...

GREEN EYES WROTE"Make yourself a nice sign that identifies you as "hey" and we'll chat after you've acclimated yourself to your dream job" I think it would be hilarious if anyone reading this comment section tonight shows up at "GREEN EYES" job tomorrow with a sign that says "HEY" so we can watch the reaction on "GREEN EYES" face. Priceless. Green eyes, you are quite the BOO-HOOER. Glad I don't have to rely on or work with you. It would be 'on'.

green eyes (Ano...

Well that's the joy of being anonymous. Glad I could bring the thought of a smile to your face and a laugh to your heart. My work is complete. Farewell and goodnight. Over and out.

Just wondering ...

Do they have hot water in administration's bathroom?????

Bet they do.

To everybody (A...

What dental ins?

swiss family......

i guess i have been doing things all wrong! i think that i work hard and do the best that i possibly can, and i think that my job evaluation, equals my salary.. but that doesn't seem to be the case at HCDJFS. how and the world does anyone in that office deserve any raise at all? the way i see it, they all should take a pay cut,until they can do a much better job, in how they handle the county cases.. do i have to point out the mess that they made of the Gravelle situation? or the Conre Dixon murder? these were the people who were paid to oversee these situations! does anyone feel like they did such a great job, that anyone out there deserves even a nickle raise? i doubt it!

me (Anonymous)

this is to the three who responded on 11/4 9:16 am (Hey me), 11/4 at 9:05am (re me), and 11/4 9:50 pm (swiss family). I don’t know who you “called” to gain you facts, but there is more to it than what you are being told, or are willing to listen to. There are more positions out there than just “eligibility workers” and those positions do not start at $11.57, but much lower. Dental benefits are not part of the package and don’t come cheap. To most that luxury cannot be afforded - that I am sure you would agree with. Life insurance yes, but lets not get carried away, the workers there still need to gain further insurance on their own (as most of us do). Do not tell me I don’t know what I am talking about - yes there are some making $15 or more but did you look to see if they were bargaining or non-bargaining? I am almost positive that number would lean towards the non-bargaining. Evaluations have nothing to do with raises and while they all work in the same building, there responsibilities differ. How would you like to be ‘punished’ for something that took place in another part of your employment building, something that you had nothing to do with? I find it hard to believe you would welcome the discipline or be willing to take a pay “pay cut” until your critics decide you are working up to par. The public consensus is that noone ‘out there’ does anything, however the public couldn’t be more wrong and no matter what is said in the this blog, it wouldn’t matter. For you see, the bottom line is, until you have walked in another persons shoes, regardless of the situation, you don’t know what they go through.


You have been on here telling people you do most of your commenting while you are working (and you wondered if we were jealous, HA!)...then you write this "i think that i work hard and do the best that i possibly can, and i think that my job evaluation, equals my salary" You don't even know how to type and spell so I hope that your "JOB" doesn't rely on you for brain power or typing skills. What kind of job position could swiss family hold? Any gueeses on that? Well, I'm off to Austin's to fill up and buy a few gallons of milk!

swiss family......

i do type alot of my comments while i am at work.. but you see, my job gives me breaks, and a lunch hour to do as i please, and i am allowed to use the company computer to do as i want , during these breaks!! so you see, mystery solved.. as far as going to "Austins to fill up and buy a few gallons of milk" I AM NOT SURE WHERE AUSTINS, IS, BUT IF IT'S A NORWALK STATION, YOU CAN THANK ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO PROTESTED NORWALK DEALERS GOUGING THEIR CUSTOMERS IN THE PRICE OF GAS THAT THEY ARE CHARGING.. NOW, BECAUSE THEYN GOT BUSTED FOR OVERCHARGING PEOPLE, THEY HAVE LOWERED THEIR PRICES TO A MORE COMPETATIVE RANGE. i will still buy my gas elsewhere, because i know it will only be a matter of time until the local dealers try to do it again , when we are not paying attention!

re swiss family...

I worked there and when I started I was paid $11.57. Do not try to drum up symthay for them. They are paid well for the area. Dental is a part of the package and it is cheaper than most people get which is none. You get your facts straight, you seem to let on that you know a lot about the office, yet you say you don't work there. Hummmm, makes one wonder. I did work there and let me tell you a lot of time is wasted on sitting in cubicles talking, extended breaks to smoke and arriving late. Most of that was lead by Marla White.

Compared to other jobs in the area, they are paid extremely well with great benefits. I will give you, compared to other counties they are not paid as well that is why I left. So get your facts straight before you spout.