County Delays Action on Longevity Pay Policy
Alternatives to the county's longevity pay policy were reviewed at the April 6 meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
But the board deferred action until one member can prepare an alternative of his own.
Under current policy, employees with three to five years service to the county are entitled to a one percent pay increase, and the pay scale climbs to five percent for those working 21 years or longer with the county. The increase is not based on performance and is subject to annual approval by the commissioners when the budget is adopted.
Human Resources Director Denise Brook put together a set of alternatives that would save the county varying amounts of money.
One possibility is a flat amount, rather than a percentage, that would delay onset of longevity pay until an employee has worked a minimum of five consecutive years.
This alternative would save an estimated $135,000 in payroll expense. By comparison, the current policy would incur more than $538,000 in additional payroll expense if adopted for the upcoming budget year.
"This may be a fairer way to reward for longevity," Brook said of the flat rate alternative.
Other ideas advanced included a change in the scale for longevity, another change by widening the intervals for percentage increases and an increased contribution to employees' 401(k) plans.
Brook said that a one percent increase in the county's contribution to the 401(k) program, if adopted in the new fiscal year, would cut about $305,000 from payroll expense by comparison with 100 percent longevity funding under the current policy. Such a change, she said, would add a benefit and encourage employees to participate in the retirement program.
"We encourage all employees to invest in their futures," Brook said.
Yet another idea would change the performance award policy as a substitute for longevity pay, and the county would set aside one percent of budgeted salaries to recognize employees who performed well in the past year. This would cut about $288,000 from payroll expense by comparison with 100 percent longevity raises in the new budget year.
Brook pointed out that this would have a negative impact because it would increase salaries, causing a compounding effect in future years.
However, Commissioner Nick Picerno said he had developed an amended alternative that would motivate employees to do their best. He called it a hybrid of some of the alternatives described in the presentation.
Picerno pointed out that the county already faces an additional $400,000 in state-mandated retirement costs in the coming year.
"This is a budget addition over which we have no control," Picerno said.
The commissioners decided to table their longevity decision until Picerno can put his proposal on paper for perusal by the other board members.
In other business:
n The board approved Home and Community Care Block Grant funds totaling $717,150 to finance such programs as transportation, nutrition, in-home aide services, information and assistance sponsored by the Department of Aging. The grant requires a local match of $79,684, which is already included in the county budget.
n The commissioners accepted revision of bylaws for the Aging Advisory Council/Block Grant Committee. A major change calls for all members' terms to expire in the same month although they will continue to serve terms on a staggered year basis.
n It agreed to authorize the chairman to execute a revised project budget ordinance related to the $75,000 capacity building CDBG offered by the N.C. Department of Commerce Division of Community Assistance.
The project is carried out by the Northern Moore Family Resource Center.
n The board also declared a list of firearms to be surplus property and authorized the sheriff's department to use them as trade-ins toward the purchase of new weapons, to be purchased with grant funds and drug tax funds included in the 2009-2010 budget.
Contact Florence Gilkeson by e-mail at email@example.com.
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