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Airport Committee looks at options for manager pay

The Airport Committee is working on their budget, trying to save money for Taylor County. They said they wanted to find various ways to keep staff happy, but simultaneously get credit back on their budget.

They have about 13.5 hours a week in temporary work, with funds in the budget set aside specifically for if they have to bring on additional help in the form of temp work, but as one committee member noted, they “don’t want to see it used just because it’s there.”

Airport manager Fred Ebert said he wants to keep the workers as satisfied as possible, noting that they have a special skill-set in operating the fuel pumps. He brought up the notion of cross-training with the highway department, but noted that if they were on call for that department, they wouldn’t be able to help out the airport.

“We need to be careful, I don’t want to lose a good guy because we cut him down to nothing,” said Ebert.

The committee went to closed session to discuss Ebert’s salary, which they decided to set at Step 7 in their matrix. The proposal goes to the Personal Committee, who will either accept or reject the Step 7 salary. If they reject it, Ebert will go down to Step 6, which doesn’t need approval from the personal committee.

Ebert felt that considering his years of experience, he should be set at Step 10 in the matrix.

“We talked it over quite at length, and [Step 7 is] what we felt is the best step,” said chairman Dave Roiger.

The committee said it’s their job to look at the position, what the value of the position is to the county, and to take any personality out of the decision making process.

“That’s like a seven-dollar-an-hour pay cut, after 19 years of service to Taylor County,” said Ebert, clearly not all too pleased. “I mean, this isn’t even a disciplinary action, this is a cost-saving action.”

In his manager’s report, Ebert outlined that he saved the county money on the airport budget every single year. Over a period of eight years, Ebert has saved a total of $262,711 for the budget, essentially gaining them an entire year’s budget.

As stated in his report, written before the committee made their decision, Ebert states, “The classification of my new position seems to put the budgeting and technical aspects of this job as a footnote and making this position the lowest paid department head in Taylor County. I would ask the Airport Committee to red-line me at my current salary and request the classification be moved from I to K where I believe it fits.”

Ebert declined to comment on the committee’s decision after the meeting was over.