Starke County’s new sanitarian will earn considerably less per hour than his predecessor after action last night by the county council. Health nurse Frank Lynch asked the council to lower the wage for the position from $20.28 per hour to $18.50 to start. After 90 days and a successful performance evaluation it will go up to $19.00 and top out at $19.50. Lynch says this is consistent with what other counties pay for the same position and addresses the salary discrepancy between that job and his as head of the health department.
Lynch is in the process of filling the position created by last month’s sudden death of Chris Dalton. He assured the council the lower wage will not create an issue when it comes to hiring someone. The council unanimously approved the change, noting it does not create a budgetary problem.
Building inspector Terry Stephenson also appeared before the council seeking a pay increase for his deputy, Pam Starkey. She’s been with the county for 21 years, and Stephenson says she’s an invaluable resource. Councilman Dave Pearman agrees Starkey is an asset to the county but worries giving her a raise will create a discrepancy with other departments. The council discussed the matter and suggested Stephenson possibly redefine her hours from 70 to 80 per pay period in his proposed budget or compensate her for attending meetings as required. No final action was taken.