Dodge County Board Approves Slight Increase To Cost Of Living Adjustment

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board Monday night approved a slight increase to the cost-of-living adjustment for county employees. The 2022 budget, adopted last month, originally included a 1.25-percent cost-of-living adjustment. While the document was being put together, the Social Security Administration boosted 2022 social security payments by 5.9-percent to keep pace with rising inflation rates.

In an effort to maintain market competitiveness, the Dodge County Human Resources and Labor Negotiations Committee elected to raise the cost-of-living adjustment by two-percent. However, the number was ultimately amended by the board to reflect an hourly increase of .68-cents. That will be paid out on top of the 1.25-percent already approved.

Supervisor David Guckenberger says he has no problem with the increase but takes issue with how this process unfolded. He says he (quote) “feels like a fool” as the 2022 budget hasn’t even started yet and they are already making changes to it.

County Administrator Jim Mielke took full responsibility for the late change to next year’s budget and adds that this is not a (quote) “blame game.” He says the administration and the board need to be pulling in the same direction, as one team. Mielke added that pointing fingers does not solve anything.

A General Fund transfer to county departments will pay for the .68-cent increase to the cost-of-living adjustment. An amendment was floated to instead send the resolution back to the HR and Finance Committee’s to find the money elsewhere within next year’s budget. Mielke says doing so could affect county services. He asked the board what their constituents would think if public safety services would need to be reduced. Mielke says if this is the direction the board wanted to go in, he wants solutions. That amendment was defeated.

A cost-of-living adjustment was not approved by the board for 2021 after step increases were frozen in 2020.