That raise? It was a mistake, Manatee County tells workers - FOX 35 News Orlando

That raise? It was a mistake, Manatee County tells workers

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Donny Combs thought he had it all figured out.

"I thought I had a raise, I thought I was set. I'm making this amount of money now," he said.

Donny Combs thought wrong.

"I found out I was not right," he said.

He is a tree trimmer and landscaper for Manatee County. He and 24 other county workers recently got raises after they completed some training.

Then they found out those raises were a mistake.

"I was doing good with that raise. That raise was helpful and it was really going to pay some bills," he said.

The county told employees they will lose their raises. Adding insult to injury, they have to pay back what they already got.

Suddenly, Donny's 95 cent pay raise became a $600 dollar debt.

"I definitely didn't have it laying around, not this time of year," he said.

Altogether, the 25 employees owe the county about $12,000.

Manatee County officials said it wasn't fair for taxpayers to foot the bill, so they asked for the pay raises back.

Employees had two options. They could either pay the bill with unused vacation time or they could have cash deductions from their paychecks.

"The county is not trying to penalize any employees. We are trying to better them. It has just got to be done the right way," said Manatee County spokesman Nick Azarra.

But, it does feel like a penalty for Combs. It turns out he needs to complete one more class before being eligible for the raise.

He said the county has not offered him that opportunity.

The county said they are working on it.

"Nothing was intentional here, but it was a new program and I think it was a learning experience for a lot of those people," Azarra said.

But, it comes at a cost.

"I am a taxpayer and I would want the employees to be treated fairly and in good conscious," Combs said.


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