Raise reinstated for new fire capt.

Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

Two weeks after the Clark County Fiscal Court promoted a new captain in the fire department at a lower salary than the other two, the court reversed itself Wednesday and approved the higher salary.

During the Sept. 13 meeting, the magistrates approved the promotion of Steve Asbury from lieutenant to captain, but voted 5-2 to reduce the recommended pay increase from $11.75 an hour to $11.07 while following the county’s new pay plan.

Clark County Fire Chief Billy Jones said previously Asbury had similar years of experience to the other two captains, who are paid $11.75 an hour.

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During an executive session to discuss personnel matters Wednesday, Asbury spoke to the fiscal court while in closed session. When the court returned to open session, the court voted 5-2 to approve the $11.75 rate.

The action to approve the raise was taken in open session, but the magistrates did not explain why the decision was reversed.

Following the meeting, Magistrate Joe Graham said more evidence was presented Wednesday to support the increase than there was two weeks ago.

“From the evidence I heard, it seems it would be more fair for us to go ahead and approve that,” Graham said.

On Sept. 13, Graham voted against the increase along with Konstantopoulos, Blackburn and Magistrates Greg Elkins and Robert Blanton. Wednesday, only Blackburn and Konstantopoulos voted against the increase.

Elkins said previously the county’s new pay plan is laid out with grades for job titles and steps within grades for seniority and longevity raises. Elkins said previously the plan was designed for promotions to include a grade change only, not a grade and step increase at the same time.

A pay grade change is also designed to have about a 5 percent increase, while steps are about 1 percent.

The fiscal court has been working for the better part of two years to implement a pay schedule and job classification system with specific raises, rather than the previous system where supervisors could recommend or set raises for employees.

The magistrates also discussed several instances Wednesday where the language of the pay plan could be clarified but took no action.

In other action, the court:

— approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone nearly 47 acres on Boonesboro Road from agricultural to single family residential. The property is presently the location of a walking trail called The Path, which is being sold to be developed.

— approved the goals and objectives from the 2017 comprehensive plan update.

— approved the update to the Clark County Solid Waste Management Plan.

— approved a $2,050 bid for special inspections for the courthouse bell tower replacement project.