One-time bonus eyed for county

Cheryl Duncan, Crossville Chronicle, Tenn.
·2 min read

Apr. 8—County employees may be in line for a one-time bonus if officials can make the budget numbers align.

"We have been kicking the tires on a few numbers," Finance Director Nathan Brock told members of the Cumberland County Commission's budget committee Tuesday. "We're looking somewhere in the $500,000 range to make that happen.

"That was just a quick look at it and on the back-of-the-paper-bag arithmetic, so don't hold us to it."

Brock said rough estimates indicate that number would mean a one-time stipend of $1,500 per full-time employee and $750 per part-time worker.

The one-time bonus for the county's 400 workers was proposed after the committee heard reports that the Board of Education approved one-time bonuses for school employees. The school board approved those bonuses to reward the extra work and responsibilities taken in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-'21 school year.

Teacher bonuses are contingent on approval of a $6.7 million grant application for federal COVID-19 relief funds. The committee approved a budget amendment for the school system to move money around to cover the bonuses for non-certified personnel.

That prompted committee Chair Terry Lowe, 5th District commissioner, to broach the idea for one-time bonuses for county employees as well.

"They didn't get no raises last year," he said. "We can think about it and run numbers on it. Just give it a thought."

Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner who served on the previous budget committee, said that's in alignment with the former committee's think-

ing.

"We thought maybe after Christmas, y'all could look at it, to where they could get a raise," she said.

"We were kind of in agreement then, but we didn't know what COVID was still going to do at that time, so we thought it would be better for everybody to keep their job and not have to lay anybody off."

The committee authorized Brock and County Mayor Allen Foster to work together for a recommendation.

"I think it's a good idea," Foster said. "We've had a lot of people that's gone above and beyond."