Cache County Council members set aside approximately 1.8 percent of the budget for employee pay raises based on merit. Now, County Executive Lynn Lemon says it will take some time to sort out the merit and market issues. After that, he says there’s an even bigger task. “We’ve really got to look at whether we want to stay on a market based system or a step and grade system,” Lemon explains. “There seems to be an answer that step and grade will help us improve to be competitive with our salaries.” But making the switch and funding it can be difficult. “I think the biggest frustration for Jim Smith, our human resources director, feels is that we were on a step and grade, we had a step and grade before we went to this market based system. But the real problem was is that you’ve got to fund it.” When asked what his biggest hope is for the new year there was no hesitation by Lemon. His hope, he says, is that the economy improves. With an improved economy comes a healthier budget. “There’s a lot of businesses that are really struggling, struggling to keep going,” Lemon says. “They’re the ones that provide the jobs so I’m just hoping that the economy improves. “For me that could be the best thing that could happen, that we would see an improvement in the economy, the building industry improve and just the economy in general.” In spite of the bad shape of the economy Lemon admits Cache County is better off than many other places. The county’s unemployment rate in November was 4.7 percent, the lowest level since early 2009 and one of the lowest in the state. Lemon says the 2012 elections will involve just three county races. The terms of council members Jon White, Kathy Robison and Cory Yeates are all expiring.
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