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Kemper raises nixed

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Feb. 21, 2001
DEKALB Employees of the Kemper County sheriff's department were on the job Tuesday night following a heated exchanged with the board of supervisors.
But how long they stay is anybody's guess.
The employees were at first angered when they learned the supervisors had passed a $100-a-month raise for those who work in the court house during their first meeting of February. That sparked a brief walkout on Feb. 6, but they came back after meeting with board president James Granger.
At the time, Granger promised to do what he could to get a similar pay raise passed for all. But during Tuesday night's board meeting, supervisors voted to rescind the earlier pay raise, meaning that no county employee is getting a raise.
Granger along with fellow supervisors Johnny B. Whitsett and Mike Luke voted to rescind the pay raise.
Supervisors authorized the raises during their first meeting of the month. A day later, the dispatcher and deputies walked out. Granger met with angry employees and they returned to work.
The county has about 60 hourly employees. There are 12 in the sheriff's department, 12 in the courthouse, six in garbage pickup and 30 with some part-time in the road and bridge department,
Supervisors said if the raises were given across the board, it would have increased the payroll by $88,000 during the course of a year. They said they had found the money to fund a raise for the courthouse employees, and were looking for a way to give the other employees a similar raise when possible when the controversy came up.
Some sheriff's department employees weren't buying that and expressed their frustrations to the supervisors following the executive session,
Sheriff Tisdale said he thought the matter had been settled when he returned to the office following the meeting. However, the employees were waiting on him and he said they were ready walk out.
Tisdale said he talked with the employees for two hours. He said Granger was contacted and he talked with the employees, too.
In the earlier discussion, supervisor Whitsett admitted the pay raise issue had not been handled correctly.
When one of the employees brought up some rumors as to how the raise issue even came up, Granger said, "you can't believe everything you hear."
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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