County workers will see changes in new budget

County workers will see changes in new budget
May 24
05:00 2017

County employees will soon have a new pay plan and could see potential increases in holidays and 401k contribution.

These are among numerous changes in the budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, that’s being considered by county commissioners. The new budget recommends 1 percent to 5 percent merit raises, but doesn’t include the “pay accelerator” used last year.

County Human Resources Director Shontell Robinson said that the accelerator increases succeeded in getting more than 90 percent of employees who’d been with the county more than seven years within or above the market rate.

“The accelerator did what it was supposed to do,” she said.

With this budget, the county is changing the way it classifies its jobs from a “complex market based system” with 363 classifications, each with different salary ranges, to a simpler pay grade system that’ll group jobs of similar values into 38 grades with their own ranges.

No one will lose money under the new system, though some employees could see a bump to get their salary into the grade range. It’ll continue to use labor market data to determine competitive salaries for positions. Performance raises will now be based on salary and not the market rate of the job.

There’s also no health insurance premium increase this year, which Robinson said was largely due to the county no longer allowing employees’ spouses on the county health insurance plan if they can get insurance through their employer.

On alternate service level requests that could be added to the $420 million budget, there’s increasing the county’s 401(k) contribution for employees from 2.5 to 5 percent. Robinson said this would make Forsyth more competitive with surrounding counties. The estimated cost for the increase is $2.01 million.

Robinson also requested increasing county holidays from 10.5 days to 12 days. The additional holidays would be Veterans Day, which 96 counties in the state take off, and turning the half day the county takes for Christmas Eve into a full day off. This would make the Christmas holiday three whole days, which is consistent with the state’s holidays. This change would cost $149,000.

County Commissioner Don Martin said that perhaps they could save money by eliminating the current Christmas Eve half day and just adding Veterans Day. He then said if he had to choose between those additions and no addition at all, he would take both of them. County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt said she supported both additions to the days off, noting that she’d been asking for years for Veterans Day to be added.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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