Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

600 to Get $710 from the County but Employees Given a Warning Not to Spend It All Too Freely

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

600 to Get $710 from the County but Employees Given a Warning Not to Spend It All Too Freely

Article excerpt

St. Charles County's 600 or so employees will receive an unscheduled paycheck of $710 - less deductions - this month.

But county officials are saying that if the employees spend the extra money on a shopping spree and fail to sock away some of the one-time pay increase, they will suffer the consequences later this year.

County revenue from last year exceeded expectations. As a result, the council on May 10 gave preliminary approval to a bill to distribute part of that excess to the employees. Each employee was to receive $710 in a lump-sum payment June 15.

But county Auditor James W. Hodges detected a problem in the timing because it would complicate the county's plan to convert to a bi-weekly pay system by issuing checks to county employees every other week, or 26 times a year. Employees now are paid twice a month, or 24 times a year.

Hodges explained in a letter to council Chairman Carl Bearden, R-7th District, that paying the $710 in October - the intended date to covert to the bi-weekly pay period - would help employees use the $710 to help offset a part of their temporary loss of pay resulting from the switch in pay periods.

With that, Bearden proposed that the special payment be made in October, not in June.

But that created an uproar at Tuesday night's meeting of the County Council.

Mike Coyne, a member of the board of directors of the St. Charles County Deputy Sheriff's Association, accused council members of breaking their promise to issue the special paychecks in June. He also issued a not-so-veiled threat to the council members that county employees would work to defeat them for re-election if they voted to delay the payment.

Later in the meeting, council members denied that a promise had been made to issue the extra pay. Also, Bearden made it clear that he and other council members did not make decisions based on threats of political reprisals. …

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