Last night the Monroe County Council began hearings for its 2012 budget. Though promising to lower spending as many places as possible, it did vote to give raises to the staff in the Coroner’s office.
Currently, some of the medical death investigators in Monroe County make less than $2 per hour, and should receive a raise of around 10 cents per hour.
In 2011, the Coroner’s Investigator made around $2,600, and put in more than 1,200 hours of work.
The new budget would pay the Coroner’s Chief Deputy $7,500 per year, an increase of around $1,200, and would increase her two deputy’s salaries to $5,000 a year.
According to Monroe County Director of Human Resources Rhonda Foster, since the Coroner’s staff are not technically county employees, they do not need to be paid minimum wage.
“It’s because they are contract employees,” she said, “so they’re just paid a set flat dollar amount over the course of a year.”
According to Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer, these raises are just a start for her highly trained staff who responds to death investigations 24 hours a day.
“I wish I could pay my staff more for the hard work they put in consistently,” she said. “They are very professional when they do their jobs. I’m just happy I was able to make a way forward for them to make more money. We have to lay the groundwork somewhere and we’re in small steps, especially given the state of the economy today.”
The council’s decision to raise the stipends paid to the staff did not come without controversy. While all councilors with the exception of Marty Hawk eventually voted for the raises, they generally disagreed on where the money for the pay increases should come from.
Ultimately, some of it came from the council’s printing supply budget, which is no longer necessary as all council members now use iPads to view electronic documents. The rest came from the county’s membership in the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the revocation of which will most likely be restored during Thursday’s proceedings.
The hearing run Thursday of this week, and also the following two weeks on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Monroe County Justice Building.