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Pay freeze continues for Branch County elected officials

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Salary hikes are not in the cards next year for Branch County’s elected officials and that would make it four straight years with a pay freeze. County commissioners discussed the matter at Thursday’s work session of the Board and the Commission is expected at their regular meeting next Tuesday to make the no salary increase for 2014 official.

Commissioner Jon Houtz, who chairs the Board’s personnel committee, said with current state of the economy and the financial strain still being felt by county government, it’s still not time for a pay raise in 2014. County Board Chairman Don Vrablic said he agreed with Houtz, adding that he doesn’t believe there’s an employee in the courthouse who doesn’t deserve a pay hike, especially given the fact that two years ago, the Commission gave increases to union employees.

Vrablic said the Board still has to find where it can cut a million dollars out of next year’s spending plan and he believes it’s not prudent at this point to recommend any pay boost. However, in Vrablic’s words, “at some point in time, we need to make those people whole” but it shouldn’t happen until the county has a revenue surplus.  The last time when the elected officials got a raise in 2010 it was a 2.5% hike. The pay scale for non-union management and non-union employees will be addressed next month.