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Wage Increase Likely To Be Offset For Vilas Co. Workers

Pixabay.com Craig Clark

What Vilas County giveth in a 2020 wage increase they take away in requiring employees to pay more for their health insurance contribution.

A projected 3% wage increase for Vilas County employees was discussed last week by the county Human Resources (HR) committee but also proposed increasing employee contributions toward health are by 3%. Committee chairman Chuck Hayes indicated discussion is “for information only” since committee member Steve Doyen could not vote because his wife works for the county. Doyen remained at the table during discussions since only three of five committee members were present and had he left the room there would be no quorum.

Hayes indicated they were projecting “a 3% raise in wages but would also adjust what county employees pay for health care” by 3%.

Vilas County presently pays 95% of the health care premium for single employees and 90% for family coverage. The proposal is the county would pay 92% for single employees and 87% for family coverage. County Finance Director Jason Hilger admitted they “were shifting the cost of health care premiums slightly from the employer side to employee side” but felt there would still be a wage increase “closer to 1% or 2%.

Committee member Carloyn Ritter indicated this would not impact the deputy sheriff's union since they have a three year contract. Act 10 under former Gov. Scott Walker effectively eliminated unions with the exception of deputy sheriff's.

Vilas County does not give merit increases. Another wage issue was how to fill a vacant diesel mechanic position that has been vacant for five months. The vacancy occurred when one mechanic took a similar position in Three Lakes and was paid $2 more.

Human Resource director Kip Kirby indicated the “post and pray” route is not working the suggestion the position needs a major pay increase. Currently one diesel mechanic is paid $21.81 per hour and the other $22.90. Since both are attending a training in Green Bay they were asked to look for any interested mechanics that may want to come to Vilas County.

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