Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler’s request to reorganize the wage scale for truck drivers is on hold for right now. He presented the concept to the county council Monday evening as a way to level the playing field between new hires and experienced employees who have worked for the county for several years.
Ritzler wants to lower the starting rate for new hires by $2 an hour and give them $1 per year pay raises each of their first two years with the county. He says it takes two years for a driver to become fully proficient at plowing, patching and other job requirements. Employees who are with the department more than six years would qualify for an annual longevity incentive through their 25th year on the job. Additionally crew leaders, heavy equipment operators, the county’s sign supervisor and bridge/culvert technicians would get performance/position raises to reflect the additional responsibility.
The council opted not to adopt the recommendations at this time in order to give other departments within the county an opportunity to implement a similar wage structure. They noted any change will require an amendment to the salary ordinance.