MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved 3 percent wage scale increases for almost all supervisory employees at Job & Family Services, retroactive to March 2020.
The decision came after an executive session with Sharlene Neumann, executive director of Richland County JFS, who said her supervisors, who occupy non-union positions, have not had a pay increase in two years.
JFS, funded through state and federal sources, receives no county general funds.
The wage scale increases impact 12 of the 14 JFS supervisory positions, including 11 full-time and one part-time employee, according to Neumann.
Commissioner Tony Vero said the March 2020 date is significant because that's when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Ohio. He said Neumann had planned to seek increases for the supervisors last year, but delayed her request when the pandemic began.
"(JFS) has played a very important role during the pandemic as more and more people have needed assistance," Vero said. "It remained open and these employees stepped up, as did many county employees. Sharlene had the money in her budget (in 2020), but decided it was not an appropriate time."
The agency's 46 union employees have continued to receive negotiated pay increases, according to Neumann, who said Thursday's action by commissioners helps to close the gap between supervisory and collectively-bargained workers.
"I feel like this step helps us continue to move in that direction" Neumann said, adding that supervisors, on average, earn $1.65 less per hour than union employees.
Before the meeting began Thursday, new Commissioner Cliff Mears was sworn into office by new State Rep. Marilyn John (R-2nd District). Mears was elected on Wednesday evening by the Richland County Republican Party's Central Committee to replace John as commissioner.
Mears resigned from his position as Mansfield City Council president on Thursday morning. The local GOP will elect his replacement on council.
Also on Thursday, commissioners approved a $1,250 request from the Richland County Dog Warden's office to purchase additional security cameras for the Home Road facility.
Commissioners will next meet Monday at 9:30 a.m. for their annual reorganizational session.