By JIM MAURER
Hancock Park District commissioners took the first step Tuesday to provide annual employee wage increases when they approved a recommendation from Director Gary Pruitt.
Pruitt suggested a 3 percent base pay increase for four full-time exempt positions that are not eligible for overtime pay, and a 3 percent base pay increase for 10 seasonal positions. The raises would be given annually through 2024.
For 19 part-time positions, base pay would be increased by $1 per hour in 2018 and then a 3 percent annual base pay increase from 2019 through 2024.
Pruitt said the recommendations were based on a two-year salary study using starting pay associated with comparable positions throughout the country.
“The vast majority of (park district) base pay rates have remained unchanged for at least 10 years. As a result, and based on the results of the salary study, current base pay as a whole, and in many cases actual pay, is not competitive within the market,” Pruitt said.
Employees have received merit raises during that time period.
Pruitt said the increases would cost $45,900.
The board’s approval included an addendum, requested by park district Commissioner Ed Ingold, for Pruitt to “revisit” the proposal in 2019 with a comparison of similar-size park district operations, rather than utilizing national averages.
Employee evaluations will be done in October and the board will review those before taking final action in December on 2018 wages.
Separately, the board approved a resolution to appropriate $15,500 for seal coating parking lots at Eastpoint Area, the park district administrative offices and the waterfalls area in Riverside Park. Clean Line Blacktop Sealing and Striping, Findlay, will seal cracks, seal coat the asphalt, stripe, install new concrete parking blocks, and traffic signs at the waterfalls area to designate a one-way traffic pattern.
Also, the board approved $5,342 in expenses: $1,442 for printing the park district visitors guide and $3,900 to cover the remainder of the cost for the revised website. The Hancock County Convention and Visitors Bureau reimbursed the park district for the visitors guide printing cost.
While various groups have used the park district’s self-guided fall float trips via canoe along the Blanchard River, Pruitt said, there has been little interest by individuals during September and October. This is the third year for the program.
Also in its third year, the “Hike It” program provides 11 trail hikes through park district properties. Individuals who complete eight of the 11 hikes, with varying lengths, receive a medallion. First-year hikers will also receive a walking stick.
Information on the float trips and the hiking program is available at the park district office, 1424 E. Main Cross St., or call 419-425-7275.
Following the meeting, the park board and some staff completed their summer visits to community parks that receive park district financial assistance through the annual grants program.
The board traveled to Vanlue, Mount Blanchard and Arlington community parks, where they met with park personnel and viewed improvements.
Send an E-mail to Jim Maurer