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Monroe County Council Withdraws Motion To Remove Benefits

county council meeting

Photo: Sehvilla Mann/WFIU News

Monroe County Councilwoman Cheryl Munson proposed the measure that would have removed the council's contribution to probation officers' retirement funds.

The Monroe County Council withdrew a motion Tuesday to remove the county’s contribution to probation officers’ retirement fund.

The county puts in 3.1 percent of the officers’ salaries to the Public Employee Retirement Fund each year. County Councilwoman Cheryl Munson had proposed a motion that would eliminate that contribution all together. Because probation officers are the only county employees that receive the benefits, she argued the contribution wasn’t fair.

Representatives for probation officers stepped up to the podium and explained that when other county employees received a pay increase in recent years, probation officers have been passed over because of the county contribution.

They did not receive a pay increase for four consecutive years, making the inequalities much smaller than previously thought, with probation officers receiving less than 1.5 percent more in county salary and benefits during the past seven years.

In light of this new information, Monroe County Councilman Ryan Langley changed his stance on the motion. Councilwoman Shelli Yoder and Council President Geoff McKim also expressed concern about the motion, and did not offer their support, which effectively withdrew the motion.

“I think it’s good for the public to see that we don’t know everything, and sometimes there are more questions that should be asked, and that we can change our minds,” Langley said.

Shelli Yoder, who joined the council in January, said she was pleased with the final outcome and the council’s willingness to take county residents’ opinions into consideration.

“I was impressed and certainly glad that it was taken off the table.  Not because it was defeated, but because we gained insight that we didn’t have originally by having more voices brought to the table about this.  And sometimes that’s just what has to happen.  We need to be forced to look at something and get as much information as we possibly can to make the best decision for the county.”

The council also approved a $2 million bond for infrastructure improvements, including the installation of a solar thermal system for the Monroe County Courthouse.   The purchase of a building for Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington was also approved through a $2 million bond.

The meeting concluded with a first reading of the 2014 county budget. The council members are expected to approve the 2014 budget Wednesday night.

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