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Potential pay raises may be out for county

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By Damon Lawrence

To get the 2013-14 county budget in order, Roane County Commission’s budget committee removed a 2-percent raise for county employees last week.   
“I hate to do that,” Steve Kelley said.
“I do, too,” added Jerry Goddard.
The motion passed unanimously.
“We’ve been trying to maintain staff through this recession,” County Executive Ron Woody said.
“It looks like we’re going to be successful, but we’re doing that at the expense of not giving employees a raise,” he added. “This will be the third time out of four years.”
Sheriff Jack Stockton and Trustee Wilma Eblen both expressed disappointment when they heard employees might not get a raise this year.
“I’m starting to lose officers now that are tenured and have 10 years’ experience,” Stockton said. “Actually I had one resign yesterday to go make more money driving a truck, about $20,000 a year more.
“I can’t blame him for leaving.”  
The county’s budget has yet to be approved by the commission, so it’s not a done deal that the employees won’t get a raise.
Two new positions that had been in the budget – a jailer and a sheriff’s deputy – were also taken out by the budget committee.
Stockton said it’s going to be tough to deal with the jail population with no new jailers.
“I guess I’ll have to make it work somehow, but it’s going to be a burden on us,” he said.
“It will be an overtime issue again before the year is up.”
Removing the raises and the two new positions is expected to save the county $469,000.
Roane County finance director Kaley Walker said all elected officials, except for the general sessions judges and county attorney, will receive a state-mandated 4.61-percent raise this year.
The judges and county attorney will get a 2.1 percent raise.