A motion by Calhoun Commission president Rick Sampson to give most county employees a $2,000 one-time pay raise failed for a lack of a second motion at Monday's commission meeting.

"One-time-pay-raise" means the amount is not a permanent pay increase, and is essentially a bonus.

Sampson said it is a fair way to help county employees, citing a financial crisis the county had a few years ago that caused lay-offs.

Sampson, who admitted he is displeased with $2,500 pay increases given by Assessor Jason Nettles to his two employees, said the $2,000 increase was to compensate county employees for their hard work.

He said Nettles' $2,500 pay increases are "out of line," indicating tax money has been misused by the Assessor.

Nettles says his employee increases have been allocated from the State's Property Valuation Fund and not county taxpayer money.

Calhoun Prosecuting Attorney Matt Minney has said Nettles has a constitutional right to give such pay increases from the Evaluation Fund.

Monday, Sampson wanted to use an unexpected amount the county received from Coal Severance Fund for the one-time "bonus."

Last month, County Clerk Richard Kirby, wanted to use the severance fund to give his employees raises.

The total cost of the one-time increase for 13 employees would have been $31,785, including the payment of employee benefits.

Sampson's list also included one part-time employee who would have received $1,500, and did not include the county's 911 Director and dispatchers.

Commissioner Kevin Helmick said earlier this year some county employees are underpaid, when the commission gave a 10% pay across-the-board increase.

He compared Calhoun employee wages and benefit packages to other regional counties, indicating many of them make less money.

Helmick said "I've tried to consider the taxpayer's concerns regarding increases, at the same time understanding our employees need to receive fair compensation."

County Clerk Kirby went on the offensive with Helmick, asking him if he felt he earned his commissioners check and being critical that Helmick turned in mileage to attend a meeting in Parkersburg.

"The other commissioners don't do that," Kirby said.

Commissioner Bob Weaver declined to vote for the $2,000 one-time benefit, saying he wants to have the new county employee handbook approved and work toward trying to see that county employees receive more equal pay, permanently.

Weaver, said county employees have been historically underpaid, but some salaries have gone up in recent years. "There is some unfairness and equalization needs to happen," he said.

Earlier this year, Nettles opted out of an out-dated County Employee Handbook, which essentially set wages, although some elected officials generally ignored the handbook.

Nettles funded his own office handbook this year. Since then, he has been giving input to the handbook committee which is developing new guidelines.

A list of county employee wages with insurance and retirement benefits has been published in the Calhoun Chronicle and Hur Herald.


County Officials And Employee Wages

Calhoun Officials Battle Over Wages

Proposed Pay Increases In Assessor's Office Raises Criticism

Commission Budgets 10% Pay Increase For County Employees