After a couple months of discussion, the Pulaski County Council has approve a salary change for a staff member in the Prosecutor’s Office. The county council voted five-to-two Monday to tie the victim’s assistance coordinator’s pay rate to the level specified by the grant that funds the position, as requested by Prosecutor Dan Murphy back in January.
Council Member Ken Boswell, who opposed the measure, once again pointed out that’s not the way the grant is supposed to work. “The number that’s put in the grant can anticipate what pay raises and stuff could be in the future, but she’s still a county employee covered under all the county handbook and regulations and rules,” Boswell explained. “She’s a county employee, so the VOCA grant does not set and mandate her wage. We set her wage, and that can be whatever we decide to set it at.”
Boswell worried that the change would set a precedent that would allow grant-funded employees to get larger raises than county-funded positions. But Council Member Kathi Thompson felt that the best solution would be for the council to review each grant application before it’s submitted.
Tying the salary to the grant means the victims assistance coordinator will no longer be eligible for any longevity raises or county-wide salary increases. If for some reason, the grant funding goes away, the pay level would have to be revisited, but council members said the wage would likely go back to the level specified by the salary matrix.
Council members also voted to make the new salary retroactive to October 1, which was the start of the current grant period.