County board approves cost-of-living increases for correctional officers

Published 8:03 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Approximately 50 Freeborn County correctional sergeants and officers will receive 4 percent cost-of-living adjustments in 2019 as part of three-year contracts unanimously approved Tuesday by the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners.

As part of the contract, the two groups will receive a 0.5 percent increase in 2020, followed by a 2 percent rise in pay in 2021.

The contracts, negotiated with the Minnesota Public Employees Association, were similar to ones approved for patrol deputies, transport deputies and patrol sergeants in December.

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Freeborn County Administrator Thomas Jensen spoke highly of the agreements after the meeting.

“It was very fruitful on both sides,” he said. “It was beneficial to both unions and the county, and we greatly value their service.” 

Jensen noted of nine unions in the county, seven have ratified three-year contracts, and the county had a tentative agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees as of Friday.

“We have yet to open talks with Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc., who represent our county dispatchers,” Jensen said.

In other action, the board:

Authorized the advancement of nearly $3 million of 2020 construction state aid dollars.

Authorized a $16,063 final payment to L.S. Black Constructors Inc. for the Freeborn County Fairgrounds Grandstand rehabilitation project. The project cost is $421,134.

Authorized the 2019 recycling schedule. The schedule includes several increases, including fees for city, rural and units. For city residents, the fee is increasing from $32 in 2018 to $38 this year. For rural properties, the increase is from $27.52 to $32.68, and per-unit costs are increasing from $23.04 to $27.36.

Increases have reportedly occurred nearly every year under the county’s seven-year contract with Waste Management.

“This year, the service cost is $41,191 per month, for a total of $494,292,” said Environmental Services Solid Waste Manager Mark Goskeson. “To cover the cost, an increase is needed.”

Approved a $101,977 temporary advance from the general fund to the tax and penalty fund to cover shortages caused by tax abatements on tax-forfeited residences as of Dec. 31.

“It’s moving money from one pot to the other,” Jensen said.

Approved a $12,536 operating transfer from the general fund to the tax collection fund to cover interest on court-ordered abatements.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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