Lake council talks pay raises for employees

2014-05-13T19:47:00Z 2014-05-14T23:49:21Z Lake council talks pay raises for employeesBill Dolan, (219) 662-5328

CROWN POINT | Lake County Council members said Tuesday they are considering pay raises next year for all county government employees.

Council members brought up the subject Tuesday when a majority of the seven-member body voted to approve supplementary pay raises of $5,000 and $2,000 for two employees of the Lake County Public Defender staff.

Councilmen Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, and Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, voted against the raises. Strong said he would prefer the council give an across-the-board pay boost to all 1,600 full-time employees rather than selective raises.

"We are trying to work out something so everybody gets a raise. Let's make it fair for everyone," Strong said.

Councilman Jerome Prince, D-Gary, said money for these two raises comes out of a dedicated public defender fund that cannot be distributed to employees outside the defenders' office. Public defenders represent criminal defendants who cannot afford private attorneys.

Council President Ted Bilski, D-Hobart, acknowledged, "Most employees have had no pay increase in six years. We are working toward a pay raise in our next budget without an increase in the county's tax levy."

The council is anticipating additional revenues next year from the new county income tax.

The council granted zoning approval Tuesday for constructing a new school, Providence Christian Academy, near 121st and Calumet Avenue, seven miles west of Cedar Lake.

Tim Boer, school board president, said Tuesday he hopes construction of an elementary school to accommodate more than 200 students will be completed within three years. He said the school, founded in 2009, currently provides a classic education for 22 students in a rented space in Schererville.

The council honored Doris Klingeberger, its longtime administrative assistant. She began working for the council 33 years ago.

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