Union members did not return calls seeking comment, but JFS Assistant Director Kerry Pedraza called the pay increase a boon for employees who have been asked to do more with less.
“It’s just really great we were able to do this. Our number of customers has increased 30 percent to 40 percent in certain areas, while at the same time we’ve seen such as huge reduction in staff due to attrition or reduction in staff,” Pedraza said.
Union members received 1.5 percent raises in 2008 and 2010.
Union members earn from $9.70 an hour to more than $23 an hour, according to documents the Springfield News-Sun obtained.
The pay range for social workers, for example, is from $13.61 to $21.75. The pay range increase means a social worker who receives the current maximum pay can still receive a raise because the pay range has been bumped up by 5 percent, JFS Director Bob Suver explained.
Commissioner David Hartley supported pay increases because of the lack of increases in the last few years. “We’ve cut benefits to employees and they haven’t received a pay raise in several years,” he said. “They’ve put up with us, with all of our money problems, and everybody is working harder, so I saw no reason why there shouldn’t be raises.”