Lancaster considers study to look at pay hikes for county workers

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 30, 2016 7:47 PM

(Lancaster) -- One midstate county hiked pay for workers by about $700,000 after studying the competition. Now, another is on its way to considering a similar move.

Cumberland County gave the raises - some more than $20,000 - about a year ago, after a study found that many were paid below market rate.

But, Lancaster County finds its struggling to fill entry-level jobs.

Commissioner Craig Lehman says potential candidates are choosing higher-paying work in the private sector and some county employees have also left because of low pay.

He says the turnover and job openings isn't going to get any easier to handle.

"Over time, that will negatively impact county services, and I think that's something that we want to avoid, not just now but also on an ongoing basis as we move into the future," says Lehman.

Lehman says he's open to a study of the issue, which could cost $150,000.

But he says he's more interested in finding a way to use existing employees to look at compensation on a more frequent basis, instead of paying an outside firm.

Lehman says if the raises are targeted on certain positions, he doesn't expect much of an impact on the county's budget.

"I think the issue for us is to be able to pinpoint what our competitiveness and our retention needs are. And I think if we're strategic about that, we can make it manageable financially," he says.

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