Spotsy Must Develop Plan To Make County Employees Salaries Competitive
At the June 15th Board of Supervisors meeting, County staff presented their total compensation study implementation plan to address the recent Evergreen study results, which highlighted that some county employees were being compensated below market value. The compensation plan was laid out as a multi-year endeavor with an initial $2.1 million investment in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. However, there is currently no money allocated or plan for a complete course correction in follow-on budget years. At the meeting, two Supervisors seemed to voice their support to adopt a multi-year plan so that county employees would know when the full salary adjustment would be reached. County staff is scheduled to present options to the Board on June 27th.
It was also discussed that the School Division is finalizing their own Evergreen study. While the results are currently unknown, it's probable that during the FY19 budget process the School Board will request additional revenue to bring their employees to market value.
Efforts to bring employees closer to market salaries will be an important discussion point next February. Do we reduce expenditures to cover these salary increases? Do we forgo compensating our employees at market value? Do we increase revenue to cover the costs? Do we adopt a hybrid of spending cuts and revenue increases?
What is clear is that these salary increases will not make Spotsy employees the highest paid on the market. But it will keep us competitive with neighboring localities.
The ultimate question we have to answer is what type of community do we aspire to cultivate? One that falls short of its responsibilities to its workforce by demanding devotion without reciprocating with competitive salaries? Or do we seek to be a community that adequately compensates its employees with a competitive salary? Would an individual that works in the private sector remain with an employer that provides a lower compensation package than a nearby competitor? The likelihood is one would leave for a better paying job opportunity. A community that chooses to forgo providing market competitive salaries is likely to find itself with a substandard workforce at some point. The majority of Spotsy citizens should conclude this is an unacceptable outcome.
This is why if elected I will strongly advocate to ensure that county and school employees’ salaries are competitive with neighboring localities.
While no citizen seeks an increase to their tax burden, it is leaders responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of their people. A continuation of the status quo, during a time of economic expansion, will send a clear message to county employees that competitive pay in Spotsy is unlikely. I suspect this will over time cause our best and brightest to shift to better paying opportunities and to some degree this already may be occurring.
There has been much talk about county employees’ loyalty when the issue of compensation arises. The Evergreen study proves we do have loyal public servants. Over the last decade, county employees have fallen behind their peers in compensation. Some of this is due to neglect and most is due to the 2008 economic downturn. The fact most employees have remained despite making below market value salaries shows they are loyal. It's time for the community to reciprocate and show those employees that their loyalty was not misplaced.