Many Warren County employees can expect a one-time bonus in time for the holidays.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve hazard-pay bonuses for certain county employees. Chairman Walter J. “Walt” Mabe, Vice Chairwoman Cheryl L. Cullers and Supervisors Archie A. Fox and Delores R. Oates voted in favor of adopting an ordinance to amend the county code pertaining to officers and employees to add the one-time payment from the fiscal 2021 budget. Supervisor Tony F. Carter did not attend the meeting. The county would spend an estimated $181,000 from funds already in the budget.
No one spoke at the public hearing held on the proposal.
Warren County Personnel Manager Jodi R. Saffelle provided information to supervisors about the proposal. Supervisors delayed a previously scheduled salary increase for employees included in the fiscal budget out of concern for the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy and revenue.
Employees continued to provide services during the pandemic since March, Saffelle said. In order to recognize their work during the pandemic, staff members requested that supervisors provide in December a one-time payment of “acknowledgment pay” for certain, non-hazardous duty employees, Saffelle said.
The payment goes to employees not otherwise eligible for bonuses provided by federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Stability Act.
“Some of them are on the front lines — our custodial staff who are out there coming in behind and treating, pretreating; our treasurer staff,” Saffelle said. “Even though we closed to the public for a relatively short time, people were still working, still taking care of the public, still seeing people by appointments, staff at the courthouse — they never closed.”
Mabe commented on the one-time bonus.
“So it’s really just a special thank-you for those people who are doing their jobs every day,” Mabe said.
Non-hazardous duty employees are those who work for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office or the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services but perform hazardous duties as defined by the two agencies. Employees must be employed by the county for at least 90 days; be in active status at the time the payment is made; and started employment by Sept. 1.
Each full-time employee that qualifies would receive $1,000. Each part-time employee who has worked at least 375 hours from March 1 through Nov. 30.
Constitutional officers would be eligible for the one-time payment.
The supervisors also voted in a separate action to adopt an amendment to a code section on officers and employees to give a $500, one-time bonus to certain sworn positions in the Sheriff’s Office funded by the Virginia Compensation Board. The $500 serves as the local match for the same amount provided by funding from the CARES Act. The Virginia General Assembly approved the bonuses effective in December during its special session earlier this year. Eligible employees include the sheriff and sworn deputies identified as “permanent personnel detail” by the Compensation Board at the time the supervisors enact the code amendment.
The Sheriff’s Office has 34 employees, including the sheriff, partially funded by the Compensation Board, Saffelle said. The county supplements their salaries above the compensation amounts set by the state agency. Certain Sheriff’s Office employees such as clerical staff not considered hazardous-duty positions are not eligible for this bonus, Saffelle said.
No one spoke at the public hearing on the ordinance.