Boots & Sabers

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0727, 12 Jan 17

County Board Uses Surplus for Employee Bonuses

This is ridiculous.

Supervisors voted to approve a resolution Tuesday that authorizes a transfer from the General Fund to offer a one-time bonus for employees. Language in the original resolution stated the measure as a “retention” bonus, but that was changed to the word “appreciation” because of a motion.

According to the committee report, the measure is an effort to address an area identified in the 2015 Strategic Planning Process named, “Workforce Development/ Employee Morale,” and provides an additional $200 to employees in the form of a gift card with the intent of improving morale among staff.


The committee report also states the initiative requires a transfer from the General Fund not to exceed $150,000 since the total estimated cost would be $145,000.

First, it continues to grate on me that this sales tax even exists. It was created as a temporary measure years ago for some one-time capital projects and the County Board has refused to end it. But I’ll get off my soap box for that for a minute.

The reason this happened is because the sales tax generated more money than the county budgeted. It’s a surplus. When faced with this extra money that the County Board found in our couch, they had some choices. They could have put it into a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. They could have lowered the property tax levy by that amount. They could have paid off some county debt.

But no. Instead, they are sending gift cards to employees for “employee morale.” What a waste.

The decision assumes two things. First, it assumes that employee morale is low and needs a boost. What leads them to that assumption? Is turnover higher than usual? Are employees protesting?

Second, it assumes that a one time gift card will actually improve morale. Anyone who has ever managed employees knows that’s crap. A gift card is nice and they will appreciate it, but if there is a systemic morale problem, it is money flushed down the toilet. It will do nothing to improve morale of the employees, but it makes management feel like they are doing something. Good for Supervisor Bassill for nailing it:

“I believe there are some problems. I believe it is 1 percent of the employees. I just think we have whiners. Even though the whiners are good workers, the problem is nothing is good enough for them.”

– Michael Bassill

The employees who are generally satisfied will appreciate the gift card, but it won’t change anything. The employees who are dissatisfied will appreciate the gift card, but it won’t change anything for them either.




0727, 12 January 2017

1 Comment

  1. billphoto

    A little over 3 years ago the Washington County Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly voted to give County employees pay parity with private industry BUT GAVE ZERO VALUE TO THEIR CADILLAC HEALTH INSURANCE AND TAXPAYER BACKED PENSION (which we taxpayers are on the hook for half of the base contribution).

    It is unbelievable why nobody runs against these bozos and brings some common sense to County government.  Time to drain the swamp.

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