Feb 11, 2020 4:10 PM

Minimum wage for Jackson County workers to rise to $15

Posted Feb 11, 2020 4:10 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's Jackson County is boosting the minimum wage for its employees to $15 per hour over the next two years.

The county said in a news release Monday that the increase is the result of a study that examined whether wages were competitive. The hourly wages of of the county's lowest paid workers will rise to $12.50 in 2020, $13.75 in 2021 and $15 in 2022.

The study also found that the county was paying too little for other jobs. All told, more than 500 staff members, almost half of the county's full-time workforce, will get an immediate pay raise that will average nearly 17%.

County executive Frank White said that departments were “struggling to fill vacancies in essential roles simply because we refused to acknowledge that we were not compensating our staff appropriately for the work they were doing."

Kansas City, Missouri, leaders previously passed an ordinance recommending living wage increases and promising to raise the minimum wage for municipal workers to $15 per hour by 2022.

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Feb 11, 2020 4:10 PM
Ex-Kan. prison lab instructor wants sex crime conviction thrown out
Tomas Co photo Texas County

TOPEKA, KAN. (AP) — A former prison dental instructor who was found guilty earlier this month of one count of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate is asking a judge to throw out the conviction.

Tomas Co was convicted on one charge and found not guilty of five other charges alleging he abused female inmates working in the dental lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

The conviction was for a woman who said Co touched the inside of her knee and thigh.

In a motion filed Friday, Co's attorney, Chris Joseph, argued that type of touching doesn’t constitute “lewd” touching under state law. The motion also asks Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios to acquit Co based on insufficient evidence, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Joseph said he also plans to seek probation for Co, rather than the 31 to 136 months of prison time he is facing.

District Attorney Mike Kagay said his office would file arguments in response to the defense motion.

Inmates in the dental lab complained for five years about alleged sexual harassment and unwanted touching by Co, who was dismissed in December 2018.