SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In response to a REAL News Michiana investigation uncovering a St. Joseph Health Department employee illegally given a 47% raise, the employee took to social media to lie about her position. While Maternal Infant Health Coordinator Sally Dixon has been paid by a grant up until this point, the raise has reduced the lifespan of that grant, forcing the DoH to now seek St. Joseph County Taxpayer funds to continue to pay her inflated salary.
The Department of Health illegally raised Dixon’s salary from $27/hr to $39.61/hr as of January 1st. Dixon has been paid through what’s called the Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant up to this point. While money from the grant was supposed to last through much of 2023, the increase in Dixon’s salary means all of the money will be spent by next month.
In her post, Dixon correctly claims she is paid by grant funding and that the grant is scheduled to run through September of this year. She fails to mention that due to the illegal raise, funding for her position will run out by next month. Now, the Department of Health is requesting more than $22,000 be transferred from the Department of Health’s “contractual services” fund to cover the shortfall. The Department is also asking for approval of the illegal raise retroactive to January 1st, despite already paying Dixon the inflated salary without any approval. This information and request was included in the County Council’s upcoming agenda packet as seen below.
Dixon goes further in her post to justify the massive raise she received by claiming it was done to bring her salary “in line with all Registered Nurses at the department of health.” While Dixon is a technically a registered nurse, she is not employed as one in her role as the Maternal Infant Health Coordinator. If a doctor gets a job as a cashier at McDonalds, the doctor would not expect to be paid a doctor’s salary.
Next, Dixon goes on to gaslight the reader in her post, telling everyone to attend Board of Health meetings if they’d like to learn about department grants. Once again, her raise was never brought to or discussed at any Board of Health meeting.
According to Indiana Code 36-2-5-3 — “The county fiscal body shall fix the compensation of officers, deputies and other employees whose compensation is payable from the county general fund, county highway fund, county park and recreations fund, aviation fund or any other fund for which the county auditor issues warrants for compensation.”
The code goes even further in regard to Health Departments, adding a layer to the salary request process.
“The board of each local health department shall prescribe the duties of all its officers and employees, recommend the number of positions, describe and classify positions and services, adopt schedules of compensation, and hire and contract with person to assist in the development of schedule of compensation.”
Neither the Board of Health or the County Council were previously involved in the salary decision.
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