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Pima County raises pay for employees

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County is trying to make sure its workers are keeping up with inflation. It did last year with a 5% pay hike and 5% inflation, but this year it’s a much more difficult task.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors had eight pay raise proposals to choose from, ranging from a low of 5% to a high of 10%. So the board chose a compromise: an 8.5-cent raise for the lowest paid workers, those making $35,000 or less.

But those salary adjustments aren’t equal for all. For those in the middle of the pay range scale, the hike is 5%. It falls to 1% for the highest paid.

Compared to a national average of 3% raises this year, it’s still fairly generous. One county leader said the county has a 17% vacancy rate it’s trying to fill.

Board member Matt Heinz did not support the pay hike, because he felt it was not enough. Government workers who went several years without a pay boost following the great recession in 2008, got a raise last year to cover inflation. But with this year’s high inflation, it was even more difficult to cover the loss of buying power.

“Anyone who isn’t getting an 8.5% pay raise is effectively, because of the insane amount of inflation, is effectively getting a pay decrease. And so what we are really debating is how much to decrease the pay and for what people,” Heinz said.

With the cost of food, gas, rent and mortgages increasing at the fastest pace in 40 years, and about half the county workers making less than $50,000 a year, just keeping pace is the goal.

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