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County Board hands out 2.5 percent raises to lead employees

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news River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

On a 13-3 vote Tuesday, the Pierce County Board gave its 52 non-union department heads, managers and supervisors 2.5 percent raises.

"It seems to me it's a bad time to dish out money now," protested Supervisor John Kucinski, Town of River Falls, one of three to vote no.

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While the county has good employees, with a weak economy, falling home values, higher taxes, failing businesses and high unemployment, taxpayers can't afford to give public employees raises, he said.

The 2010 cost of the raises and associated benefits for the 52 workers is $91,204.

"The private sector's really hurting. The taxpayers are hurting," said Kucinski.

"I understand there's angst, but at some point we have to say halt," he said. "The taxpayers don't have the money. I think someone has to stand up and say that."

Kucinski, himself a state employee, said they have taken a three percent reduction in pay.

"Our employees and non-reps are doing as good or better than our taxpayers," said Kucinski, speaking of salaries paid to county workers.

Kucinski is hardly one to talk, retorted County Board Chairman Paul Barkla, who had checked internet state records to learn Kucinski, an assistant public defender, earns over $117,000 a year.

Barkla went on to recite a list of other benefits available to state workers, including retirement and paid legal and personal holidays.

For more please read the Feb. 3 print version of the Herald.

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