Graham County to reward employees with bonus COVID pay

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: County Manager Dustin Welker proposes the county utilize ARPA funds to pay nearly $1 million in “premium pay” to county employees who worked in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. The board unanimously voted its approval.

Some employees to receive $4,000 to $5,000 in back “premium pay”

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – Graham County will dole out nearly $1 million to its employees this week for hazard bonus pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Graham County Manager Dustin Welker gave a presentation to the Board of Supervisors at its Monday morning meeting and requested the board use a portion of the money the county has received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide “premium pay” for Graham County employees who worked in person from March 28, 2020, to July 2, 2021. Welker advised that the total in bonus expenses is $946,831.72, with each employee who worked that full-time period to receive about $4,000 to $5,000 take-home pay each. The board and some department heads are not eligible for the “premium pay” bonus. 

“This is something that many counties and cities are doing to reward their employees who worked through COVID,” Welker said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing and I recommend that we do it for our Graham County employees.” 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Supervisor Paul David listen to County Manager Dustin Welker’s presentation. David said the “premium pay” was a good thing to do and will help out the county’s employees during this holiday season.

The board agreed with Welker and unanimously voted to utilize the ARPA funds to pay the bonuses to the employees.

“I think it is a viable use and I think it’s an appropriate use,” BOS Chairman Danny Smith said.  

Welker advised that checks should be going out to the employees by the end of the week. 

“I am grateful to be able to – especially just before Christmas time – to get a check (to the employees),” said Supervisor Paul David.