A move to suspend performance requirements for Sedgwick County employees to receive 2 percent raises next year failed Wednesday.
Commissioners Tim Norton, Karl Peterjohn and Dave Unruh voted against the suspension of performance qualifications, saying it would set a bad precedent.
Board members Kelly Parks and Gwen Welshimer voted for the measure.
Earlier this year, the county froze salaries for employees making more than $75,000 and suspended the pool of money for performance-based pay raises, instead setting raises at 2 percent for people who make less than $75,000.
But some commissioners thought employees still would have to meet performance standards to receive the 2 percent raises.
At the end of 2008, 77 employees didn't meet performance criteria. To give those employees a 2 percent raise would have cost the county about $54,000, County Manager William Buchanan estimated.
Norton said that the county needed to be "consistent with the message we've sent to our employees the last four or five years" that job performance plays a role in pay.
"Ever since I've been a commissioner, I've told my constituents I try to approach county business in some kind of business-like fashion," he said. "We have worked hard to establish pay for performance."
Parks said the suspension would have been for just one year.
"It's not a carte blanche statement that we're going to do this forever," Parks said.