Studies and retirement topics for Financial Management’s first 2020 meeting

For the first Financial Management meeting of the new year, Carter County Commissioners first discussed possible retirement compensation plans, with Finance Director Brad Burke providing several options ranging from $5 matches up to $30 matches.

The discussion came up last meeting, but this time it included the County School System as well, which increased the price of such a plan.

Ginger Holdren expressed concern at the statistics, saying the lack of information on each contributor to the 401(k)/457 made determining an amount difficult.

“We cannot give them $30 if they are only putting in $20,” Holdren said.

Brad Johnson reminded the committee this would only account for retirement contributions, and so if an employee only contributes $20, the county will likewise only contribute $20.

Due to the cost, Travis Hill suggested offering a forced retirement package, in order to encourage more participants, while Austin Jaynes said many employees rely on the holiday bonus as part of their salary.

Conversations were tabled until next week so the committee can determine how to inform employees of the benefits of contributing to retirement systems.

The committee also heard presentations from Evergreen and Condrey, finalists for a wage compensation study that will take place during the first half of 2020.

After hearing from representatives of both companies, Deputy Finance Director Michael Kennedy said Condrey’s reputation checked out more consistently than Evergreen.

“Evergreen has an issue with internal turnover,” Kennedy said.

However, Evergreen said it would provide, free of charge, its own software to analyze, modify and utilize the data from the study, and they would also train commissioners how to use the software for their own purposes in the future. Condrey would essentially provide an Excel spreadsheet, and their services would overall cost several thousand dollars more than Evergreen.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend Evergreen for the study. The decision now rests at the full commission in two weeks.

Burke also said he had part of Mike Hill’s request for information on the county’s history of awarding bonuses. The report is several hundred pages long and covers very little of the documentation on the old system, which Burke said is extraordinarily difficult to use in a timely manner.

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