Civil service employees vying for all-over raise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – An across the board raise proposal for civil service employees in St. Charles Parish is still awaiting the approval of Parish President Albert Laque.

With the increasing cost of living in the Parish, and the constant competition from private businesses, Councilman Clayton &#8220Snookie” Faucheux felt the need to propose the 10% increase in salary to the Parish Council at their meeting Tuesday.

In his resolution to the council, Faucheux said it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain qualified employees with required high school diplomas at the present introductory salary level.

&#8220We need to do this for retention purposes and to attract more employees,” said Faucheux.

The council approved the measure 8-1, with the only dissenter being Councilman Barry Minnich who felt uncomfortable supporting the raises so close to the administration changes in January.

&#8220I realize that civil service workers are underpaid, but I want to see what the long term impact is,” said Minnich.

As of Thursday, President Laque still had not approved the measure, but the nearly unanimous vote was a positive step in that direction.

&#8220I’m still talking it over with my people,” said Laque. &#8220But this will help me make up my mind.”

Faucheux said the last entry level increase was approved in August of 2006, but did not affect the present workforce who are topped out in their positions, and who are senior members of the staff.

&#8220To continue to provide qualified, dedicated employees, it is essential that we offer entry level salaries at least 25% over the U.S. Census Bureau Poverty threshold,” said Faucheux.

About 300 of the parish’s 400 employees are a part of the parish’s civil service system staff. The raises would cost the parish $1.2 million the first year, and would increase an additional $110,000 per year afterward. The parish spends about $23 million a year on payroll, including benefits.