EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The second of two county budget hearings for 2023 wrapped up in Vanderburgh County, with one group of county workers seeking a significant pay raise. This follows the theme of the two-day hearings, where several county departments expressed concerns over low wages and staffing shortages, including Vanderburgh County Commissioners.

“Almost all employees, from deputies to confinement officers, and all the teamsters we have, those pays need to be elevated to attract, continue to attract, good people, and keep good people,” says Vanderburgh County Commissioner Jeff Hatfield.

According to Hatfield, county commissioners are no exception. Currently, their salary is just over $36,000 a year. Commissioners are proposing nearly doubling that salary to just over $72,000. That is drawing the attention of County Councilman Tom Shetler.

“I did notice that the salary increase is basically a 100% increase there,” says Councilman Shetler. “And I didn’t know if there was a rationale for that, and I understand there’s a lot of time and effort, and probably an increase is necessary.”

Commissioner Hatfield answered by saying the role of a county commissioner should no longer be considered part-time.

“If they do the job that is required of them, requested of them, phone calls, emails, texts, and problems to solve on a daily basis, it is a myth to think that a commissioner is a part-time employee,” explains Hatfield.

The raises are only proposals at this point, however Commissioner Hatfield hopes this request will act as a conversation-starter to raise wages for all Vanderburgh County employees.

“My conversations with council is, it’s time to reinvest in our employees,” says Hatfield. “We’ve invested in sidewalks, roads, Burdette, you name it. Now, we need to pay attention to our employees.”