Payment recognizes their efforts during pandemic
The Dare County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 19 unanimously adopted 2021 mid-year budget revisions that include $375,000 in one-time bonuses for county employees to recognize their efforts working through the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.
Depending on their job duties and increased workloads in response to the pandemic, county employees are set to receive a $1,000, $600, $400 or $200 one-time bonus.
“We’ve got a bunch of employees who have worked really, really hard through COVID,” noted County Manager Bobby Outten before the revisions were approved. “The health department folks have done exemplary work… they are to be commended.”
Along with the health department employees, he noted that Emergency Medical Services employees and first responders in the Sheriff’s Office have been on the frontline dealing with COVID patients regularly.
“They are taking risks every day and have been exposed to people [with the virus], have gotten sick and people have had to quarantine. But they keep on trucking,” Outten said.
As for the rest of the county staff, the county manager cited their extra efforts, including moving to different departments and helping answer phone calls at the health department to sign people up for vaccines. “We have people who do all kinds of things that they don’t normally do,” Outten asserted, adding that is occurring when the county is short staffed due to COVID or quarantine.
Through it all, he said, “I haven’t heard one single complaint since this all started. Anything we’ve asked them to do, they say ‘okay and how else can I help?’” Outten added.
The county manager said that there are nine or ten nurses who are exempt employees who have worked overtime, nights and weekends throughout the crisis who would be rewarded with the highest bonuses of $1,000 each. First responders would be recognized with a $600 bonus and the remainder of county employees would receive a $400 bonus. Part-time employees who have jumped in to help, they would get a $200 bonus.
“While it won’t compensate those employees who have worked the hours, didn’t get paid and didn’t get comp time, it will let them all know that we appreciate what they did, that we know how hard it’s been on them and their families.” Outten said. It’s a little bit of something for us to say thank you for all the hard work that you’ve done and acknowledge that there’s going to be a lot of hard work going forward as well.”