By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER

The Hancock County Department of Job and Family Services hopes a pay hike for employees will reduce the exodus to higher-paying jobs in neighboring counties. The county commissioners approved an amendment to the department’s wage schedule Thursday which will affect 73 employees.

Randall Galbraith, the new director of Job and Family Services director, told the commissioners the $232,000 each year earmarked for the pay raises were not included in the department’s 2019 budget.

The money will come from state and federal funds received by the department and not the county’s general fund. The pay increases are determined by job classifications.

Former Director Diana Hoover, who retired at the end of 2018, was praised by Galbraith and the commissioners for her efforts in handling the pay issue prior to her retirement Dec. 31.

The department’s pay scale has been lower than surrounding counties. So, employees would be trained locally and then accept similar jobs at higher pay from neighboring counties, the commissioners said.

It is hoped the wage hikes will reduce the employee turnover, Galbraith and the commissioners said.

Separately, the commissioners reviewed a $528,471 payment to Helms and Son Excavating for continuation of the “benching” being done along the Blanchard River banks. Maumee Watershed Conservancy District is overseeing the project and the information will be forwarded to the Defiance-based office for payment.

Concrete which is being piled up in the area of the benching is the result of removal of low-head dams in the river, said Steve Wilson, who is working with the conservancy district to oversee the work. The debris has prompted some complaints.

He said the concrete will be reused for construction of reconfigured lower “riffle” areas, which will be 6-12 inches lower than the previous dams. A new channel has not be completed yet. It will be constructed to allow flow down the middle of river.

The work is all part of the original project, Wilson said.

The goal is to reduce flooding in the downtown area during periods of heavy rain, officials have said.

The commissioners also approved vacation of most of the alleys in Houcktown, which involves three plats within Jackson Township.

The board also reorganized for the year, with Commissioner Tim Bechtol approved as board president, replacing Brian Robertson, and Commissioner Mark Gazarek approved as vice president.

Sarah Mutchler will continue as board clerk and Lynn Taylor as assistant board clerk.

The commissioners will not meet next Tuesday. But, they will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in McComb village offices, prior to the regular McComb council meeting. Among the board’s action will be to present a proclamation honoring the McComb High School football team for winning the Division VII state championship last fall.

The commissioners will hold their regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 in the first-floor hearing room at the commissioners’ office, 514 S. Main St., Findlay.

Maurer: 419-427-8420
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