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UCHRA Addressing Certified Driver Shortage In Approved Budget

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA Addressing Certified Driver Shortage In Approved Budget

The UCHRA Executive Committee took measures to improve driver staffing issues in the agency’s new budget approved Wednesday.

During discussion, some committee members asked about the affordability of a step raise plan. Finance Director Ginger Stout said the move is financially feasible.

“We’re struggling right now with employer retention, employee recruitment and we’re investing money on the front in especially in transportation to get those people started,” Stout said. “Then, they are only staying for a short period of time, because they can go somewhere else and make more money.”

Executive Director Mark Farley said certified drivers will receive a pay raise for every five years of service. Farley said drivers could make up to $14.50.

“Getting van drivers is our hardest thing,” Farley said. “So, we’ve also implemented for years of services. I think up to five years, then five to 10 and 10 to 15 and above. A little step up boost to that hourly rate.”

Farley said the agency evaluated pay rates across the region as a basis. Farley said based on the agency’s financial shape, he also believes the agency is more than capable to afford the increase.

“We’ve had several things that we have benefited,” Farley said. “From an HRA standpoint, transportation we have renegotiated our contracts with TennCare. That has greatly improved our financial condition.”

A 6 percent cost of living raise and a starting pay increase to $12.50 for all employees also included in the budget.

Farley said unlike local governments, the agency funds these efforts based on state contracts of service. Farley said UCHRA and UCDD has saved over $2.7 million since 2017 when the two organizations joined as one shared management group.


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