Possible One-Time Bonuses for County Employees Draws Conflict

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BAY COUNTY - Some of Bay County's constitutional officers say they'll refuse the county commission's plans to fund one-time pay supplements or bonuses using part of the county's 8-million dollar BP settlement.

Commissioners say they want to help out county employees who haven't had raises in quite a while.

Some of the constitutional officers have a problem with the way commissioners have presented the idea.

Bay County commissioners proposed the idea of of the one-time pay supplements or bonuses earlier this month.

It would give all county employees an average of one-thousand dollars each, with the constitutional officers doling out the money as they see fit.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office is all-for the proposal.

"It's been about five years since any type of pay supplement or raises. The sheriff thinks it's time that we try to help our guys out," said Major Tommy Ford with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen says the way commissioners presented the plan didn't sit well with him.

"That's a promise that's being stated or that money is being made available, well it really puts the constitutionals in a position that each employee would expect to get that one thousand dollars," said Mark Andersen.

Commissioners say they weren't trying to step on any toes. They just want to reward county employees that haven't received raises in several years.

"What we were trying to do was keep it fair across the board with every county employee. We certainly didn't have any desire to usurp anybody's power or to undermine the constitutional officers," said Bay County Commissioner George Gainer.

Despite lean budget years, Andersen says many of his employees have been receiving raises.

"My employees have seen different job changes, have seen increases in pay. Some have, some have not. Some are termed out. They can't get pay increases," said Andersen.

The recent raises in Andersen's office came as a bit of a surprise to Gainer.

"If we had known that these included raises for part of the county employees and not the other ones, we would have had some problems with that," said Gainer.

Tax collector Peggy Brannon has also expressed some of the same concerns as Andersen. Property appraiser Dan Sowell is supporting the bonuses.

Commissioners say they are still examining the proposal.