COLUMBUS - Cherokee County Commission Chairman Richard Hilderbrand asked County Clerk Crystal Gatewood to rescind raises given to her employees during the commission meeting Monday.

As he was going over the county payroll Hilderbrand noticed the raises and asked Gatewood the reason for them.

Gatewood replied many of her employees had seen increased duties this year and she felt the raises were appropriate.

"I respectfully request those raises be rescinded," Hilderbrand said.

Gatewood made no answer.

Hilderbrand waited a few moments and then asked, "Is my request denied?"

Gatewood again did not answer.

Hilderbrand then said the reason he was asking for the raises to be recinded was because since 2009 there had been four pay raises. He also made a point of budget cuts the county has made.

"Last year everyone said it was down to the bone, that there was no room to cut anymore," he said. "It looks bad (to be giving raises.)

Gatewood agreed to rescind the raises but asked about other departments having given raises the previous month, asking if her department was being singled out.

Hilderbrand said he would be interested to see who else had given raises.

He later contacted the News-Advocate to clarify his position.

"We have an inequitable solution going on as far as pay raises," he said. "There needs to be a structure, not just because some department has a whim. I feel for the employees (who didn't get raises) I really, really do, but you've got to have some kind of structure.

"We cut the budget and still raised taxes. We shouldn't be raising taxes to give raises."

Hilderbrand said two employees in the treasurer's office had indeed been given raises in December, but noted they were new hires who had completed a six-month probationary period.

The commission also heard from residents who were concerned about a landfill in the eastern part of the county and opened bids for a loan to cover a matching grant for new storm sirens.

The commission tabled action on the bids until Monday's meeting to allow for all three commissioners to review them. Commissioner Jack Garner was absent.