Incentive package aims to attract, retain county employees

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Current and future Monroe County employees are expected to receive higher retention and recruitment bonuses.

Under an agreement reached between Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and County Legislature, the quarterly bonus for full-time employees and new hires will increase to $1,000 from $500 and will run through October 2024, officials say. These incentives do not apply to upper management.

“This initiative will help us continue to recruit and retain the talented employees who provide the essential services we rely on to protect our public health and wellness, ensure public safety, build and maintain our infrastructure and contribute to our quality of life,” Bello says. “As the nation and county celebrate record low unemployment, this incentive package will help Monroe County more fairly compete with other prospective employers and build our workforce.” 

According to the Federal Reserve Economic Data report, Monroe County’s unemployment rate in December 2022 was 2.9 percent. The county’s unemployment rate has not been this low since 1990, officials observe. Monroe County employs roughly 4,600 people.

“I am elated that we are increasing and extending this vital incentive. As we grapple with numerous unfilled positions in County government, this should serve as a powerful recruitment and/or retention tool,” says Legislature President Sabrina LaMar. “We want our most valuable employees, many of whom are barely making $15 an hour, to know that we understand their value, and we want people to know that working in County government can be a rewarding experience.” 

Monroe County has two upcoming open interview events for Child Protective Services caseworkers. Those events are expected to be held Feb. 15 and Feb. 23. 

Once enacted, the recruitment and retention incentive will become effective April 7. The maximum individual bonus paid out through this adjusted incentive would be $7,000, in addition to up to $1,500 already received under the prior program, county officials say. 

“As Vice-Chair of our Public Safety Committee, these recruitment and retention plans are essential for our County Offices, specifically the Sheriff’s Office, which prompted the initial discussion for this bi-partisan agreement,” says Legislator Rick Milne. “The dedicated employees of all County Departments deserve this incentive to keep them performing the vital services they provide each day. For others, we hope this serves as the final push for those considering joining the great Monroe County team. The reality of a world without enough of such public servants is something none of us ever want to picture, and with efforts like this, we will not have to.”  

The Legislature is expected to vote on the measure tonight.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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