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Grays Harbor County commissioners approve raises for employees

MONTESANO — The Grays Harbor County commissioners approved new union contracts with their public works and courthouse employees on Monday, calling for raises.

The commissioners approved a contract with public works employee, calling for 2 percent increases each year for this year, next year and 2016. The commissioners also approved a one-year contract with employees under the courthouse division, which makes up the bulk of the non-Sheriff’s Office personnel, calling for a 1.5 percent increase.

The courthouse contract also calls for the county to pay more for dependents on county medical, raising the reimbursement rate from $390 per month to $450 per month. That’s identical to the public works contract.

For the current budget year, the new contracts will cost the county $87,000 for the courthouse contract and $95,000 for the public works contract. The three-year total for the public works contract will tally up to $292,000.

Also on Monday, the county commissioners rescinded an ordinance that separated the county’s exempt, non-union employees from getting the same salary adjustments as the union employees. Now, non-union employees will get the same raises as their non-union brethren.

County Commissioner Wes Cormier suggested the change as a way for commissioners to “think about the big picture” when they build budgets so that employees are treated the same across the board. There had been some budget years during lean times when union employees would get raises, but exempt staff wouldn’t.