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BOLIVIA—A final meeting with Brunswick County’s salary study consultant Monday didn’t finalize any pay-raise options for the board.
Brian Wolf, assistant project director with Evergreen Solutions, said the meeting was the last face-to-face, question-and-answer session included in their consulting contract, so he would try to answer all the questions commissioners still had.
But county commissioners still questioned if they were comfortable with a pay-raise method.
Instead, they asked questions in a process of elimination to decide what they wouldn’t do.
First, commissioners agreed they wouldn’t take a deciding vote because the full board was not in attendance.
“I don’t think you’ll get an answer today. Since (Commissioner Marty Cooke) is not here today, we made a promise not to make a decision,” Chairman Phil Norris said.
Finance Director Ann Hardy told commissioners whatever amount they decide to spend on salaries will increase another 34 percent to account for benefits.
Lawing then advised the board to pick an amount they are willing to spend and let the consultant shape the plan to that spending cap.
“If you target a number, the total impact will be good to know to eliminate options,” Lawing said.
Hardy proposed a salary and benefits total of no more than $3 million.
Wolf told the board if their goal became spending less than $3 million, he could create a percentage increase cap at around a 10 percent pay increase for employees who salaries are below market.
“It would be how much can you do without going over, like ‘The Price is Right,’” Wolf said.
The pay-raise options commissioners considered during the last salary review meeting Feb. 28 were based on employees working a 20- to 30-year career.
A 20-year career period assumes salary increases yearly though their pay range.
So an employee who has been with the county 10 years would be at the midpoint of his/her range.
Commissioners debated whether an employee’s career with the county would be based on years of continuous service or total service—so if they left and came back, those years would also benefit their salary range.
County Manager Marty Lawing reminded the board the last pay study brought salaries in line in 2004. So the commissioners decided the eight years from 2004-2012 would be used to determine the midpoint of a career.
Commissioners also decided salaries that were under the expected pay range for an employee’s years of service would only bring pay up to their midpoint salary.
Increases in pay to the top half of the salary range would be based on merit and performance.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.