This morning, the Franklin County Commissioners voted unanimously to increase the lowest wage paid to their employees to at least $15 per hour. The move is one of the first steps taken under the commissioners’ new Rise Together poverty initiative, which was announced on June 11, and will be retroactive to the pay period that ended on June 10th
The Board of Commissioners oversees 1,293 employees, of whom 169 currently make less than $15.00 per hour. Additional raises to address “wage compression” caused by increasing the lowest pay rates could also see hourly raises for another 850 county employees. The commissioners’ action today affects non-bargaining unit employees and authorizes the Director of Human Resources to make the same offer to the unions representing the county’s other employees.
“Our employees are the county’s most valuable asset. They work hard every day to make life better for our neighbors and they deserve fair wages in return,” said Board of Commissioners President Marilyn Brown. “This is the right thing to do for our employees and their families. I am proud to join my colleagues in taking this step and putting the hard working employees of Franklin County first.”
Affected county employees are those up through pay grade 14, and will receive either a raise to $15 per hour or a raise of $.50 per hour, whichever is greater. This action is expected to cost the county about $1.3 million per year, and the commissioners are also offering to adjust the budgets of other county elected officials so that they can make the same offer to their employees.
“Franklin County is a great place to work,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “From our excellent benefits package to our healthy workforce initiatives, and now a rising minimum wage, actions like this not only take care of our people, but they help us to attract the strongest workforce possible and the best and brightest employees for every position.”
In 2016, the Board of Commissioners engaged the consulting firm of Clemons Nelson & Associates to determine an appropriate living wage for Franklin County and study the commissioners’ entire pay scale. At that time, the living wage, defined as one that would allow a family of four including two working adults maintain a typical standard of living in our community, was determined to be $13.69 per hour. In June of 2016, the commissioners raised the amount of their lowest hourly wage to $13.69 and adjusted other pay throughout the pay scale to appropriately spread the wages out to avoid “wage compression”.
“Raising the minimum wage of Franklin County workers to $15 per hour is a step in the right direction and our hope is that other government entities, corporations, and businesses will do the same,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce.
The commissioners’ Rise Together Poverty Blueprint can be found here
, and the text of today’s resolution can be found on the commissioners’ website here