Commissioners approve bonuses for all county employees

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In a unanimous vote at its final meeting of the calendar year, Campbell County Commissioners approved a one-time bonus for all county employees including fire and land-use board.

The bonus, which goes into effect immediately, will be paid on the second paycheck of January 2022. The gift will be $1,800 for all full-time employees. For all others, such as part-time, the financial gift will be a prorated sum if employed by the county as of Dec. 21, 2021.

“We realize our employees feel under-appreciated, so we need to do something immediately for them as they are very much appreciated,” said Brandy Elder, executive director of human resources for Campbell County. She added that this would be a temporary thank you to all county employees while officials look more into a long-term financial solution.

The monetary thank you and appreciation to its employees has been in the works for more than a year. In 2020, a Special Compensation Committee made a recommendation for the compensation and benefits of Campbell County based on the fact it’s facing an economic downturn.

Elder said unfortunately the downturn required departments to reduce budgets, which adversely affected employees. The Covid-19 pandemic and the additional workload required further strained the county’s valued employees, she noted.

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Officials and commissioners agreed despite all the struggles during the pandemic, county employees have shown immense dedication and have continued to provide the public with outstanding service.

Based on the results of a recent employee climate survey, the county should be able to make an informed decision for the care and wellbeing of its most important asset- its employees, according to Elders.

During the meeting, the commissioners did not hesitate in rewarding that asset.

“We are falling short of our employees, and we have got to make it right” said Commissioner Del Shelstad, who filled in for chairman Bob Maul who did not attend due to illness. Shelstad added that compensation must be adjusted in the long term, but this token of appreciation is something the county can help its employees with right now.”

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The City of Gillette addressed the financial concerns of its employees by approving a 3-percent raise last month.

Commissioner Rusty Bell said this small financial assistance is long overdue and agreed more must be done. He said with no raises, bonuses or incentives in recent years, this is a must. He said the county staff continues to be asked to do more for less.

Elder addressed the problem that pay is having on her department. She said the county did have a payroll of 646 employees, but that it currently has 594 with a constant high turnover rate.

“The other part of this is that this bonus shows our employees that we know how they are feeling, and we want to show them we care,” she said.