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Pay Raise in Campbell Co. Leads to Another Dispute at Fiscal Court

Walt Dunlevy, chairman of the Jolly Community Development Council, presented the plans for the annual Festival On The Lake to the Campbell County Fiscal Court on Wednesday night.

The festival, which will include kids’ activities, crafts, food, beer, wine, and live music, will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 13 at A.J. Jolly Park. Among the scheduled live performers are SIMO, Rob Fetters, Johnny Fink, and Blessid Union of Souls, whose pop song "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)" reached number 33 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1999.

Parking is $10 per carload or $5 for a single person. Dunlevy said proceeds from parking, food, and drinks will help offset the costs of building a new, rentable picnic shelter at the park.

“We have a fabulous asset in the park and it’s everyone’s concern that it be utilized to the fullest. And I think everyone’s in agreement that that wasn’t always the case,” Judge/Executive Steve Pendery told Dunlevy. “But the work that you and your group are doing to call attention to the park and events you’re offering is really fantastic.”

The court also passed modification of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, shifting parks’ physical maintenance to the umbrella of the facilities department. With the move, Michael Braun will take over as director of fleet and facilities—a position that will come with a 14 percent pay raise, bringing his total compensation to $71,912 annually.

To compensate for the raise, the court will reduce by one the number of seasonal workers in the Parks and Recreation Department and will leave vacant an open position in the facilities department. County Administrator Matthew Elberfeld estimates those moves will not only compensate for the raise, but will also save the county another $9,000.

Commissioner Charlie Coleman was the lone dissenter, citing the county’s budget deficit as grounds for denying the pay increase.

“At our last meeting, you said to the public that we wouldn’t be giving any more raises or hiring any more people. But at that meeting, we hired someone, and at this one, we’re giving a $9,000 raise,” said Coleman. “I say it time and time again. People in the private sector are not getting 15 percent raises.”

“A year and a half ago, we had a lot of retirements coming on. We knew we were going to hire younger people on a probationary basis, and we weren’t going to pay them top salaries starting out. But once they proved worth and competence, they would be eligible for a boost in salary,” said Judge Pendery. “We’re normally number three in terms of salaries in the three northern counties. We’re paying less than market and less than competitors for these positions. You can’t just ask those hourly workers to work more without getting compensated for it. That’s illegal.

“In this particular case, the parks and recreation director will be freed to handle programs at the park. Now that we have more people coming in, we’ll need more programs. And if it’s our ambition to make better use of the park, that person should not be cutting grass,” said Pendery.

Coleman suggested a $4,500 pay increase for Braun instead, but the initial motion passed with a vote of 3-1.

Also, behind a unanimous vote from the court, Kevin Neltner and Neltner Brands LLC received an entertainment permit to operate Camp Springs Tavern in Melbourne.

The Campbell County Fiscal Court will meet again on Wednesday, August 3 at the Alexandria Courthouse. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.