Jury pegs pay raise to merit

By: Paul Kedinger
The Acadia Parish Police Jury voted unanimously Tuesday night to tie a portion of employee pay raises in 2011 to a merit pay system in which good job evaluations will earn parish workers increased wages.

The $32,976,153 budget adopted last night contains provisions for a five percent pay raise.

Initially, as he moved to adopt next year’s budget, Juror John Quebodeaux suggested the entire five percent across-the-board pay raise be withheld until a merit performance rating system was established.

Though the jurors appeared in agreement that a merit pay system was needed, some, like Juror A.J. “Fatty” Broussard asked Quebodeaux to modify his motion to give a two to three percent raise to all parish workers. “We need to give them something,” commented Broussard, noting no pay raise was granted in 2010.

Juror Kermit Richard agreed the parish’s “good workers” deserved a raise and a system was necessary to identify ‘the slackers.”

Jury President A.J. “Jay” Credeur agreed a pay raise was needed to boost worker morale.

Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lacombe then asked Road Manager Michael “Pee Wee” Schexnider, “Do we have a lot of slackers?”

Schexnider answered, “It has improved,” adding the evaluations tied to a merit pay system “would help” identify productive workers deserving of some pay incentives.

Juror Felton “Tony” Moreau pointed out the evaluation methodology system needed to be worked out.

When jurors realized that even job descriptions were lacking for parish workers, Juror Quebodeaux amended his motion to grant a three percent cost-of-living pay raise beginning in January and activate a two percent wage boost under a merit system.

Questioned when a merit pay system would be set up, Secretary-Treasurer Lacombe replied, “A good working document” was in place and that a merit system procedure could be in place by the first quarter of 2011.

When jurors reviewed the 2011 budget in a prior public hearing, it was proposed that the Sales Tax Fund be increased by $400,000 and that only $200,000 be added to the expenditures to provide the five percent wage increase, including benefit for all employees.

With that adjustment, the budget surplus was estimated at $560,000.

Jurors also amended the 2010 budget to balance it.

In other action, jurors:

• Agreed to put referendum to the voters at the next statewide election to double homestead exemptions for disabled Acadia Parish veteran homeowners as approved in recent constitutional balloting;

• Reappointed Larry Regan to the RC&D Board, Michael Shayne Richard to the Fire District No. 5 board, and Nora Benoit and Keith Henry to the Acadia Tourist Commission;

• Selected Associated Design Group of Lafayette as the engineering firm for asbestos remediation;

• Continued its Tuesday schedule of committee and regular meetings;

• Declared December 27 as a legal holiday; and

• Approved the 2011 Acadia Criminialistic Laboratory budget; and

• Heard a brief report form Capt. Jonathan C. Burton, the new captain of the port for the Morgan City Coast Guard station.

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