By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

In what amounted to many moments of confusion and eventual clarification, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors approved a 5 percent pay increase for county employees, but not for themselves.

The increase, voted on during a special meeting Tuesday, would offset the financial burden of a mandatory health insurance program for county employees.

As it stands, the new health insurance mandates a 5 percent payroll deduction from county employees. This payment would then be balanced by a 5 percent pay increase, essentially nullifying the financial impact of the mandatory deduction.

However, when the board voted on the same agreement for themselves, they could not reach a concensus, resulting in no deduction or pay increase.

andquot;I have a personal priciple that I should not be voting myself a raise,andquot; said District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen.

Even though he said he understands the pay increase only would cover the mandatory 5 percent deduction, thus making it a wash, the process of giving himself a raise is against his personal principles.

andquot;I'm not going to vote for a raise, regardless,andquot; he said.

District 2 Supervisor Martha McClure used the vote as an opportunity to voice her philosophical opposition to the current board's practices.

andquot;I felt the board has the potential of not following process this year,andquot; McClure said after the meeting. andquot;And I'm not sure we deserve a 5 percent balance (of the health insurance deduction.andquot;)

Due to this dissension, the board will not have a 5 percent payroll deduction for health insurance. Nor will they receive the offsetting 5 percent pay increase.