KEYSER - Mary Lou Smith, a Mineral County courthouse employee, brought several concerns to the Mineral County commissioners Tuesday, with all of her issues centered around the recent raise in salary for Luke McKenzie, the county's director of emergency management and 911 center.
By Jean Braithwaite
KEYSER - Mary Lou Smith, a Mineral County courthouse employee, brought several concerns to the Mineral County commissioners Tuesday, with all of her issues centered around the recent raise in salary for Luke McKenzie, the county’s director of emergency management and 911 center.
She told the commissioners that she was the courthouse employee representative, and asked them if McKenzie got a raise, “Why didn’t we all get a raise?”
“I feel the employees are not being treated with respect,” she said, and she would like to request “all county employees be treated fairly and equally by the county commission.”
She gave a description of the raises obtained by McKenzie, who was hired in 2016, and received a $4,000 pay raise in July 2017.
Smith added that in July 2018, all the county employees received a $200 pay raise, including McKenzie.
She mentioned another recent raise for McKenzie of $1,000, approved by the commissioners on Sept. 11.
Smith called the raises “a blatant show of favoritism.”
Commissioner Roger Leatherman explained that the recent $1,000 raise was decided on when McKenzie was originally hired and involved the stipulation that he would complete further training, which he recently completed.
She reminded the commissioners of when she had an appointment with them on Aug. 22, 2017, to get an understanding of the $4,000 raise for McKenzie and at that time was told that a pay raise for all employees was a possibility.
Smith said, “Well, 11 months later, you decided we were only worth $200.”
Commission president Jerry Whisner said to Smith, “You complained when Kevin Clark got a raise,” however, there was no complaint when another county employee received a large raise.
Smith said she also had another concern, and that dealt with the approved $1,000 pay raise for McKenzie not being an agenda item on the early September commission meeting.
In contacting the West Virginia Ethics Commission, Smith said the rules are so that, “Action items must be listed on an agenda,” and the “pay raise was not on the agenda.”
To help to understand her concerns, she requested the three commissioners have a meeting with the courthouse employees, perhaps to take place in the courtroom, with an explanation about raises.
No date was set for the meeting.