County Considers Restoring Longevity Pay
It’s not a sure thing by any means, but the longevity benefit may return to county employees — provided the 2011-12 budget can accommodate the change.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners has hinted that the program should be restored in the new budget. At an April 5 meeting, the board gave County Manager Cary McSwain an informal green light to consider reinstating the longevity plan.
Board Chairman Nick Picerno said the board’s intent last year, when the policy was changed, was to examine the county’s long-term financial liability. He said it was the board’s intent to come up with a fair way to compensate employees with a reasonable measurement of performance.
“It was obvious that the way it was set up was unfair,” Picerno said. “I regret that it hurt morale.”
Denise Brook, human resources director, was asked to prepare statistics about the funding needed if the longevity plan is reinstated but limited to employees hired before July 1, 2010. This was done at a March meeting.
For the April 5 meeting, she was asked to determine how much it would cost to re-establish longevity pay with full funding in the new budget.
The total for the general fund would be $432,355, including longevity, Social Security, retirement and 401(k). The total climbs to $549,256 if all other funds are added in, such as Emergency Medical Services, public utilities and Moore County Transportation Services and other units paid from enterprise or separate funding sources.
Commissioner Larry Caddell expressed sympathy for longevity recognition.
“If they stay this long, they must be doing it right,” Caddell said.
The board is also considering changes in the performance aspect of the employee compensation picture. However, restoration of longevity pay or any other changes in compensation may well depend on available funds for yet another budget year stung by a severe economic recession.
Also on April 5, the commissioners awarded a construction contract to Frank Horne Construction Inc. of Fair Bluff for the ATEX Technologies sewer project in the amount of $499,590.50.
Public Works Director Dennis Brobst reported that Frank Horne submitted the lowest bid among 20 bids received for the project. The bids ranged as high as $843,510. The county had budgeted $767,000 for the expansion.
Extension of the public sewer lines will enable the Pinebluff industry to expand its pump and haul operation.
In other business, the board agreed to amend the health department’s contract with Dr. Michael J. Maness for obstetric and family planning services. The change reduces the weekly payment by $135.54 to $1,300 and eliminates reference to increased compensation in the future. It became effective on April 1.
Health Director Robert Wittmann said the amendment is needed because of a decrease in revenue for the maternity clinic.
Chairman Picerno pressed Wittmann for information about the services provided through the contract. He wanted to know if abortions are included.
Wittmann assured him that no abortions are provided through the health department.
The commissioners approved a service contract with Carolina Recording Systems Inc. for the upgrade and maintenance of the recorder system used by the public safety department, $74,294.
The board also approved a request from public safety for the upgrade of nine monitors-defibrillators through E-Series Zoll upgrade kits for $33,716.25. The alternative would have been replacement of the equipment at a cost between $200,000 and $300,000.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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