Board votes down bonuses for county employees

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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In what some employees call a Grinch-like move just before the holidays, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted once again not to provide bonuses to all county employees.

Funds for bonuses would have been paid indirectly from CARES Act funding in which the county received just over $2 million.

Kay Pierantoni

For the third month in a row, Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt presented the BOS with the option to consider hazard bonuses for county employees.

Regardless, BOS members declined to pay bonuses, except for sheriff’s office employees by a 7-0 vote during the board’s Monday, Dec. 14 meeting.

Witt provided several options for the board’s consideration. Options presented included $500 for the 12 local employees in the sheriff’s office, $500 hazard pay from the county’s savings in the general fund to full and part-time county employees, and $1,000 hazard pay from the county’s savings in the general fund to full-time employees and $500 to part-time county employees.

Cost options to the county ranged from $6,459 to $103,344.

Witt presented the BOS with the new options to include new information from the State’s Comp Board mandate.

Daniel Witt

“The Comp Board has awarded a $500 hazard pay to all Comp Board employees at the Sheriff’s Department,” Witt said. “As of Dec. 1, that totaled 27 employees. However, 12 local employees at the sheriff’s office are not Comp Board employees and would not receive the additional pay unless the Board of Supervisors approves payment from the CARES funding or from local funds from the savings to the general fund.”

Before the vote, Supervisor Kay Pierantoni spoke up to say she favored option one of giving the 12 employees at the sheriff’s office the $500 bonus, costing the county $6,459.

“The 12 that were left out of the comp board bonus need to be included,” Pierantoni said.

Over the months of discussion of bonuses, school employees were never considered to be included. Pierantoni said that if the BOS were to go outside of providing bonuses to the sheriff office, they must look at all the county employees, and that would include the school employees.

School Superintendent Robbie Mason addressed the BOS during the Dec. 14 meeting.

“I respect the work of all Charlotte County government employees, but CCPS employees are as deserving of additional compensation considerations as any other employees in Charlotte County,” Mason said.

Mason continued to say CCPS could not pay its employees’ bonus out of the CARES funds they received due to so many expenses they had due to COVID-19.

“CCPS has spent its funds on Chromebooks for students, massive amounts of masks, sanitizers, foggers, disinfectants, thermometers, upgrades to school building ventilation, special transportation for students with disabilities to provide adequate social distancing, as well as many other COVID-related expenditures,” Mason said. “We have also set aside a portion of these funds to ensure that we do not have a deficit at the end of the fiscal year due to potential sales tax loss and decreased enrollment, both of which could result from COVID-19.”

Supervisors did ask Witt what his recommendation was before the vote.

“I have no recommendation,” Witt said. “I am just presenting the options.”