Sedgwick County Emphasis on Employees and Services to the Public
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – Sedgwick County, like many organizations, is working to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and, as the lead responding agency, is proud of the service to this community. The County continues to provide quality public services and it is imperative that the organization continues to invest in its employees.
Today, the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) adopted the 2022 Recommended Budget after receiving public input. As part of the 2022 Recommended Budget, every Sedgwick County employee will see a pay increase through either a reclassification or general pay adjustment January 1, 2022. Overall, this is financial investment in our employees of over $7.5 million in 2022. After completing a first true market and job analysis in several years, this will begin a multi-year plan to bring county employees into a competitive wage environment and will begin Year One of a multi-year effort to improve work conditions inclusive of compensation, environmental safety, and training/self-improvement.
Additionally, the BoCC approved a pilot sign-on bonus policy that will help several departments that currently have a significant shortfall of employees. Those departments include Facilities Maintenance, Emergency Communications, COMCARE, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Corrections. The sign-on bonus will be a one-time payment made after the completion of 60 days of employment and will range from $1,500 - $5,000 depending on the position being hired. This pilot policy is intended to assist the County in hiring for positions that have labor market shortages, which effect the County’s ability to deliver services to the public.
“Currently there are many critical shortages in several areas of the organization and this year, we worked tirelessly on the important need for compensation” said Tom Stolz, County Manager. “We want to also emphasize the essential need to enhance the employee environment through employee growth, development, safety, training improvements, and better internal communication particularly due to this challenging last year.”
While Sedgwick County is addressing compensation issues, simultaneously being implemented are recruitment and retention strategies including critical pay status and the sign-on pilot policy – however, a better understanding of the work environment and workforce issues is necessary. Departments experiencing significant employee shortages in public safety and public services program areas include COMCARE, Corrections, Emergency Communications, EMS, and the Sheriff’s Office, all areas and programs that cannot be privatized or managed by the private sector. The County will begin an environmental assessment of several of these departments. The purpose of an environmental assessment is to identify themes of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities within the departments. Departments starting this environmental assessment will be the Department of Corrections and shortly thereafter COMCARE.
Sedgwick County continues to focus on its mission to cultivate a healthy, safe, and welcoming community through exceptional public services, effective partnerships, and dedicated employees. Sedgwick County is committed to supporting the hard work and dedication of its employees and their ability to provide quality public services to its citizens.