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Study expected to show lag in salaries, benefits

Elkhart County is studying salaries and benefits of public employees.
Posted on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Results of a study that will be released early next year are expected to show that Elkhart County government employees are paid far less than workers who have similar jobs in the private sector and their counterparts in other Indiana counties.

Elkhart County’s personnel department is working closely with the county prosecutor’s office to review salaries and benefits of public employees. The study was initiated after county prosecutor Curtis Hill told the Elkhart County Council that he was losing staff to private law firms in other counties because of better wages.

The prosecutor’s office surveyed neighboring counties as well as jurisdictions with populations similar to Elkhart County.

“We studied Kosciusko County, and we were shocked at what they pay,” said Jean Willard, business manager for the Elkhart County prosecutor’s office. “I’m surprised that all of our deputies aren’t lining up there any time they have an opening.”

For example, Willard said, Kosciusko County’s deputy prosecuting attorney for child support has a smaller case load and makes $15,000 more than the person who holds that position in Elkhart County.

The personnel department is studying private companies, including law firms and large employers in the area.

“What we anticipate with the private sector is that we’re going to be even further behind on wages and probably pretty close for benefits,” said Carol Caviness, county personnel director. “I think a lot of companies have done the same thing we’ve done with high deductible health plans and health savings accounts.”

Final results from the salary study are expected to be released in January or February.




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