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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Health workers net double wage increases

Auglaize County

By Shelley Grieshop
WAPAKONETA - Auglaize County Health Department staff will receive 2 percent raises and additional wage increases beginning in January.
The health board discussed employee wages in executive session Tuesday before approving the raises and a revision of the pay scale.
On top of the 2 percent cost of living raise, the pay scale revisions will boost worker salaries ranging from 27 cents to $2.20 per hour, depending on the position, health commissioner Charlotte Parsons explained.
The adjustments to the pay scale were based on a study performed by a private consulting company, which compared salaries and job responsibilities to health departments across the state with similar resident populations, staff size and budgets, health commissioner Charlotte Parsons said.
"Our (pay) rates were considered below the average," she told The Daily Standard following Tuesday's meeting. "My concern is that everybody gets paid fairly in comparison with others in our region."
The last pay schedule revision was in 2005, she said.
Employee wages were frozen this year but were increased 1.5 percent in 2010 and 3 percent in 2009.
Also following the 40-minute executive session, board members voted to continue compensating employees for 11 holidays, as in previous years. They also decided to stay with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for employee medical insurance but chose a different plan with deductibles increasing from $2,500 to $3,000 for individuals and $5,000 to $6,000 for families.
The change in insurance plans will reduce a 2012 hike in premium costs from 20 to 15 percent, Parsons said.
In other news, director of nursing Cindy Jones told board members most of the local cases of influenza (seasonal flu) are associated with the "B" strain, not the "A" strain that has dominated the U.S.
"That's good because Influenza B is usually milder," she said.
As of the first week of December, 97.3 percent of U.S. influenza cases were type A and 2.7 percent involved the B strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jones told board members Ohio's flu activity level remains sporadic. The status across the country is low, she said.
January through March typically is the peak period for seasonal influenza in the Grand Lake area.
Board members also:
• Approved a third and final reading of changes to the risk level food service license fee, which will affect restaurant owners and others who sell food to the public. The resolution becomes effective in January and increases by an average of 13 percent all license fees for commercial food service operators.
• Were introduced to a pair of newly-hired registered nurses: Stacy Seipel is the new immunization coordinator and Renee Zwiebel works in the family planning and immunization divisions.
• Learned the next board meeting is 8:30 a.m. Jan. 17 at the Wapakoneta office.
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