The Pottawatomie County Commission has approved the 2022 wage plans that will see county employees receiving a 3 percent raise.

It accounts for the 1.6 percent cost of living adjustment approved in the budget in August, plus an additional 1.4 percent increase approved recently by commissioners through American Rescue Plan Act funds. Director of Human Resources Whitney Phebus also gave commissioners an update on staffing.

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The county still has several vacancies and has been filling some of its existing vacancies in the treasurer’s office and appraisers office internally. Phebus says some of the more long-standing vacancies though are continuing.

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Vacancies in the sheriff’s office include a deputy position, a jailer recruit and a dispatcher. Commission Chair Greg Riat also suggested the county look into a return to in-person recruitment efforts in Pottawatomie County schools, something that has largely gone away during the pandemic.

In other business, commissioners agreed to allow the public works department to maintain its fleet of 16 motor graders, for now.

Assistant Public Works Director Lance Forgy had been advised earlier this year to sell one of its spare graders by the first of the year, in a cost saving measure, due to a lack of hours documented on specific machines.

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Forgy says it’s no secret his department has been operating with skeleton crews and feared losing a spare machine could jeopardize the county’s ability to do some road maintenance, especially in the winter. County Administrator Chad Kinsley suggested the extended timeline to better gauge hours spent on equipment, something commissioners, including Pat Weixelman supported.

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Commissioners voted 3-0 to extend the timeline an additional six months at which time they will reconsider.

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