KINGMAN — There will be immediate increases in salaries for Mohave County Public Health Department employees, from about 10% to almost 28% for nurses in terms of an hourly wage.

The changes were approved in a 5-0 vote by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Public Health has been struggling with high turnover rates and vacancies due to much higher salaries in the private sector, but the situation worsened during the covid-19 response when staffing shortages impacted operations. On top of their regular responsibilities, Public Health staff has been conducting covid-19 case investigations

Hiring temporary staff at a rate higher than current staff, and staff burnout, were the biggest concerns, according to a memo presented by County Manager Sam Elters.

In order to attract and retain quality employees, and after a review by the county’s Human Resources Department, salary adjustments were proposed. Salaries in other Arizona counties, as well as each employee’s years of experience and education, were taken into account.

The assistant health director’s salary will increase from $33.35 to $40.56 hourly; the nursing services manager’s salary will increase from $36.79 to $42.59, and the salary for the nutrition and health promotion manager will rise from $27.46 to $36.79.

Nursing supervisors will make not $31.78 per hour, but $36.79 per hour; while nurses – there are currently six of them – will make between $30.27 and $33.37 per hour, instead of $23.71 to $28.83 per hour.

Increases are also planned for environmental health specialists and eligibility technicians, and smaller ones for permit technicians and office specialists.

In a letter to county Finance Director Coral Loyd, Public Health Director Denise Burley explained the budget implications of the salary adjustments for the remaining three months of the current fiscal year.

Public Health general nursing will be an additional expense of $36,000 until the end of the fiscal year. General nursing has had two nursing positions vacant, one since November 2019 and another since April 2020. That will provide approximately $66,000 to cover the increases through June.

Administration costs will be a bit over $10,000, to be partly offset by $5,750 from lack of training sessions and training-related travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Environmental Health operations will cost $25,000 and the division has two vacant positions. This will provide approximately $23,000 towards the increase. The remaining money will come from the training costs that have not be fully utilized due to COVID.

General Nutrition will cost an additional $289 over the remaining three months of the fiscal year.

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