Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
Over the last few years, Macon County has been working to bring county employee salaries up to the level of comparable county’s in the state. After a compensation study was completed by Springsted Inc. in 2012, county officials approved Springsted’s recommendation of ensuring that the county’s pay scales and job classifications for county employees and selected fringe benefits were in line and competitive with other governmental entities in the region. It also brought all Macon County employees working below newly established minimum grades up to the new grades.
With Springsted’s survey showing county employees’ salary being on average 21 percent lower than the market comparison, the employees most impacted by the adjustment were new hires. County commissioners directed County Manager Derek Roland to work with a committee to address compression issues regarding the salaries of county employees who have served the county for a number of years.
With no mechanism in place during the first pay plan adjustment to address longer serving employees salaries, salaries of recently hired employees, while at minimum levels, moved closer to the salaries of longer serving employees, including superiors who had not advanced consistently throughout the previous pay scale. In some cases, newly established minimums were extremely close to the actual salaries of longer serving employees holding the same position.
Roland demonstrated the county’s current compression issue by demonstrating that because of the new pay scale, which primarily addressed new hires, a newly hired maintenance worker would be hired in at $22,932. Under the current pay plan, a maintenance worker with 13.9 years of service to Macon County currently earns $23,855. A new hire Sheriff’s Deputy will be hired in at $32,268 with zero years of experience and a deputy serving 8.2 years will be earning $32,913.
The committee reviewed four methods to address the county’s compression issues as well as the county’s current pay plan’s policy regarding advancement in pay grades for years in service. Each method addressed how the new pay scale would be addressed in the county’s budget, how well the pay plan issues would be resolved, and what lasting implications it would mean for county employee salaries in the future.
Method 4, the method selected by Roland and presented to commissioners for consideration, calculates longevity as well as comparative analysis to recommend employee salaries. In order to implement the proposed method, the county’s budget would increase by $478,939.35 annually to cover the new salaries.
County commissioners will continue consideration on implementing Roland’s proposed pay plan with discussions scheduled on Tuesday, May 31, beginning at 4 p.m. during a budget work session. A public hearing in the proposed budget is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, at 6 p.m. in the commissioners board room in the courthouse.