Cape Girardeau County Commission tables request for personnel changes

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Cape Girardeau County Commission on Monday tabled a request for personnel changes by the collector's office pending clarification of how salary changes would affect county budgets.

County Collector Diane Diebold approached the commission to ask for salary adjustments for two employees, one who was relocated from Jackson to the county's satellite office in Cape Girardeau and one who would be moving from part time to full time.

Diebold said the assessor's office, collector's office and county clerk's office have cross-trained employees who work in Cape Girardeau to be able to step into customer service roles for any of the three county functions. Part of the compensation she requested was a yearly $2,000 stipend that has been given to those employees for the increased skills demanded of their positions.

The commission posed questions on how the changes would affect county budgets overall, especially because one of the people for whom a stipend was requested is technically an assessor's office employee. The assessor's office operates on a separate budget, funded by its fees, while the collector or county clerk's offices operate on another budget funded by the county's general revenue.

Associate Commissioner Jay Purcell expressed concern about giving some employees greater compensation than others for learning more than one job function. He said that "in the real world," employees are expected to learn whatever skills are necessary and to increase those skills as a basic job responsibility.

County Clerk Kara Clark Summers explained that the county employees in Cape Girardeau are expected to do more than one job, similar to if a parks department employee were also asked to become proficient at the skills necessary to work for the highway department.

Purcell asked that the budgetary ramifications be made more clear and for a history of the three offices' personnel changes. All three offices rely on hiring seasonal workers to help handle increased workload during specific times of the year, such as tax time and during major elections. Purcell said he'd like to see information on how part-time workers might be included as possible solutions.

Associate Commissioner Paul Koeper said requests for increases must be weighed with consideration to cuts to county income, such as recent decreases in the assessor's budget and expected cuts to prisoner per-diem payments.

The commission formally requested an analysis of the matter by the auditor's office and tabled action until Thursday, when salary and personnel data could be reviewed and the assessor's office could be included in the discussion.

salderman@semissourian.com

388-3648

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