Fannin refuses pay raise

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pike County Commissioner Oren Fannin was at the Pike County Commission office early Tuesday morning to sign the necessary papers to refuse the 3 per cent cost of living raise included in the county’s 2011-2012 $13.7 million budget Monday night.

As a first-term commissioner, whose base pay is $20,000, Fannin would receive about $610 as a result of the raise.

“I don’t believe that any government officials should give themselves a pay raise,” Fannin said. “That’s what was done Monday when the commission approved the 3 percent cost of living raise for all employees, including elected officials.”

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The across the board 3 percent cost of living raise will cost the county a net total of $88,427.

The commission also considered a 3 percent anniversary raise with a price tag of $27,861. The difference between the two for the first year was $60, 566.

Harry Sanders, county administrator, said anniversary raises are awarded on the date an employee begins work.

“For that reason, the anniversary pay raise would have been considerably less the first year,” Sanders said. “After that, the cost of the raise would be the same. A savings of more than $38,000 in health insurance this year made awarding the cost of living pay increase easier to do.”

Fannin said between the two, the 3 percent anniversary raise would have been better but he wasn’t in favor of any kind of raise this year. “We just can’t afford it.”

Fannin said that he opposed awarding raises to county employees this year because of difficult economic times,

“The economy is suffering,” Fannin said. “The county commission is $5.8 million in debt. We have very little, almost nothing, in reserve and we can’t even afford to purchase road equipment that we need. Right now, we have a brush and limb trimmer that needs to be fixed and we don’t have the money to do it.

“We needed $125,000 in the annual budget to keep our road equipment and repaired replaced. Our county roads provide service to every person in Pike County. We need to keep them in good repair.”

Fannin said that pay raises granted to county employees benefit a select few. Good roads benefit everyone.

“We need to do what is best for all of Pike County,” he said.