County to provide ‘hazard pay’ to select employees from federal American Rescue Plan funding

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Nearly 55% of the 456 people employed by county government will receive extra money this holiday season.

By a unanimous vote, the Bartholomew County Commissioners agreed Monday to use $357,750 of the $8 million received through the federal American Rescue Plan for what is being described as “employee premium pay.”

On Friday, Dec. 17, there will be 227 full-time employees who will receive a one-time payment of $1,500, while 23-part time workers will get a single-payment of $750, county auditor Pia O’Connor said.

This extra money will go to employees required to report to work in person during last year’s health emergency that are assigned to the following departments: County clerk; Code Enforcement; County Commissioners staff members (not elected officials); E911; Emergency Management; Environmental Health; County Highway Department; Information Technology; County Jail; Maintenance; Public Health Nursing; Sheriff’s Department and Weights and Measures.

Under federal rules, none of the ARP money can go to elected officials or those no longer employed by the county.

“The bill specifically states you are not eligible for this payment if you were eligible to work from home (during the pandemic in 2020),” commissioner Tony London said. “Our two choices were to give nothing, or to look for the folks who put themselves in harm’s way for us on a daily basis.”

For the complete story, see Tuesday’s Republic.