The Lincoln County Social Services Board voted to give raises to social workers investigating child mistreatment.
The state has mandated that all such workers receive a promotion in an effort to retain quality social workers.
â€œWeâ€™ve been lucky. Our folks have stayed,â€ said Susan McCracken, director of the Department of Social Services. â€œA lot of counties are fighting for good, qualified social workers.â€
Each county decides whether the state mandated promotion comes with a raise. The board voted in favor of the raise on Tuesday night, using county funds.
â€œIâ€™d hate to give them a promotion and have them get no money for it,â€ said Tommy Drum, a board member.
â€œIf they deserve it, and the position they have deserves it, I say give it to them.â€
Three board members voted in favor of the raise. The chairman of the board, James Hallman, voted against it. Larry Craig was not present for the vote.
â€œItâ€™s not that I wouldnâ€™t want them to have it, but we have to have some equality within the building,â€ said Hallman.
The raise will cost the county $10,000. Only 10 people who make up two units in the DSS will receive the 2.5 percent raise.
â€œI donâ€™t feel bad for asking for something the rest of the state is asking for,â€ said Drum.
Because the raise comes with a promotion, the 10 workers will receive another 2.5 percent raise after six months, which follows Lincoln County policy.
Board members fear the new raises may cause tension between workers.
â€œEverybody in the building earns more than they are paid,â€ said McCracken. â€œEveryone works hard.â€
The following issues were also discussed at the March Social Services Board Meeting:
Â· The 2004 to 2005 budget was completed.
The budget has made room for foster care parents to receive an increase of $50 per month per child if the state mandates it. The budget now includes child support court fees. Last year Lincoln was one of two or three counties in the state that did not pay these fees.
Â· The board unanimously approved a new juvenile justice position that will be paid for by the state.
Â· The board declined the offer of receiving more money for each board meeting they attended.
Â· The DSS plans on purchasing two more vehicles with $38,000 in federal money left over from this yearâ€™s budget.
Food stamp use increased again this month as did Medicaid use, especially going towards families and children.
by Sarah Grano