Some 150 former Clark County employees missed out on back pay, possibly because they weren’t informed the money was available, a county commissioner said Tuesday.
County workers who left their jobs between July 1, 2006 and March 6, 2007 were eligible to receive money to cover the 4 percent raises they would’ve gotten had the labor contract between the public employees union and the county been approved before the old one expired.
Labor negotiations were at an impasse for eight months after the contract expired in July 2006.
Employees who left during that period were given 30 days to apply for the retroactive raises.
Roughly 105 workers asked for the back pay and received it, but some 150 eligible employees never requested it, Commissioner Tom Collins said. People wouldn’t pass up pay unless they were unaware it was available, he said.
He said the county must improve its system for notifying workers to ensure that everyone is treated equally. “Either you give them all a check, or you don’t give them a check,” Collins told fellow commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.
Most commissioners thought they were discussing whether to pay the 150 former workers a total of $130,000 in back pay. Most resisted the idea.
“I appreciate the discussion, but I don’t think we should expend the funds,” Commissioner Chip Maxfield said, adding that workers are responsible for knowing their rights.
Collins emphasized that he was asking for no money, just answers. He asked county staff to research why the 150 employees didn’t come forward, and how the situation can be avoided in the future.
Don Burnette, the county’s chief administrative officer, said the county and the union agreed on the 30-day window for workers to apply for back pay. The county lived up to those terms, he said.
Burnette questioned whether it’s the county’s responsibility to tell ex-workers they qualify for back pay, and whether it’s even possible.
“Realistically, I don’t think there’s a way to track all former employees,” he said.
He did say the county would try to determine how the situation arose.