Most Saratoga County employees promised 50% raise during pandemic have it taken back

Mark Mulholland
Updated: April 02, 2020 08:01 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 04:47 PM

BALLSTON SPA -   It was March 17 when the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, faced with the mounting challenge of responding to a pandemic, agreed to pay time-and-a-half to 380 employees for their regular hours worked.

But a lot has changed since then.


Facing pushback from a bipartisan coalition of ten supervisors, the compensation committee pared the number of workers getting the 50 percent raise down to 340 worker, then down to approximately 40 workers.

But earlier this week, the committee - which includes the chairman of the board, the county administrator, the director of human resources and two supervisors - has decided to take back the raise retroactively for all but the 40 people working in the county command center.

So the roughly 300 rank and file employees who were told they were getting "hazard pay,"  now are not. Some supervisors on both sides of the aisle say the situation has been mishandled from the beginning and say their calls for a meeting to discuss it have been ignored.

"This pay issue, which is spiraling out of control, it's certainly without a doubt going to affect the morale of our employees on the ground. We need to come to a common sense consensus and a plan on what we're going to do with that," said County Supervisor Jonathan Schopf, R - Clifton Park.

Democratic County Supervisor Tara Gaston, who represents Saratoga Springs, said county employees are going to lose faith in the elected board of supervisors.
"The fact that none of this has been able to be discussed in the open and it's a very small group that's not communicating with the rest of the board of supervisors," said Gaston. "That's gotta be fixed and it's gotta be fixed now."

NewsChannel 13 asked the county's public relations firm for an on-camera interview Thursday with County Administrator Spencer Hellwig and County Board of Supervisors Chairman Preston Allen, but didn't hear back from a representative of the firm.

The compensation committee's takeback of the extra pay retroactive to March 20 means most of the more than 300 employees recieved it for just three or four days.

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