Pay raises coming to DJFS workers over next two years

LISBON – Some of the workers in the county agency that provides government assistance will receive a combined 75 cents per hour in pay raises over the next two years.

The pay raises were approved Wednesday by Columbiana County commissioners, who were acting on the recommendation of Eileen Dray-Bardon, director of the county Department of Job and Family Services.

Dray-Bardon said 74 workers represented by the AFSCME union will receive hourly pay raises of 40 cent this year and 35 cents in January as part of a three-year contract first entered into last year. The contract, which expires at the end of 2015, contained wage and insurance reopener clauses the second and third years.

In exchange for the pay raises, the workers agreed to pay 7 percent of the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums, up from 6 percent, over the remainder of the contract.

“It only gives them a little bit of gain” overall, Dray-Bardon said, who noted the employees went without pay raises during two years of the previous three-year contract.

The workers are those employed in the Child Support Enforcement Agency and the offices that oversee the other government assistance program, such as food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance.

The workers in children services division of the JFS are represented by a different union and have a separate contract.

In other action, commissioners awarded two contracts for two major purchases being funded with a federal Homeland Security grant money awarded the county Emergency Management Agency.

The first contract, for a mobile 600-kilowatt generator, was awarded to Generator Systems of Akron for $155,077. Commissioner Tim Weigle said the lowest bid was from Ohio CAT, which offered a used generator with 4,000 hours for $131,000. He said the advisory committee preferred going with a new generator.

The second contract, for two hazardous material kits capable of detecting radioactivity, was awarded to RAE Systems of San Jose, Calif., for $104,700. RAE was the only firm to submit a bid.

The money was from the nearly $300,000 in Homeland Security money awarded the county EMA in November as part of a joint application with five other counties. The generator, to be used to power critical care units of hospitals during a major power outage, will be shared among the counties.

As for the hazardous materials detection kits, one will go to the East Liverpool Fire Department, which serves as the state-designated hazmat team for the county.

Also, commissioners approved the county engineer’s entering into a contract with a new health insurance carrier, Anthem and Humana Dental. By doing so, the engineer’s office will see its monthly premiums increase by only 6 percent, compared to 58 percent had it stayed with its current carrier.

The 50 engineer’s office employee pay 10 percent of their monthly premiums.