Financial Management Committee begins investigation into wage rate system for county employees

Carter County’s Financial Management Committee decided Monday morning they would formally begin investigations into implementing a wage rate system for all county employees during their monthly meeting.

Commissioner Brad Johnson said this has been part of the committee’s budget for the past three months but has continued to sit on the floor until now.

“I think this is worthy,” Johnson said. “It is a needed thing for all our employees.”

A wage rate system would give employees pay raises at regular intervals (the rate of which is up to the board to decide).

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office has a similar pay system in place, and Carter County Schools have tossed around the idea during the past few budget workshops and meetings. The latter recently decided to reach out to individual department heads to determine what funding existed to set up such a system for everyone. As for the former, Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said his program has suffered in recent years due to a lack of funding.

“This will become harder to fund each year without more money,” Lunceford said.

The board agreed the money to fund such a program will come from taxpayers, and Johnson said the planning process would take several months before they could present any concrete, numerical plans. However, he said the goal was worthy of the work it would take.

“All of this is because we provide a service,” he said.

County Schools Superintendent Kevin Ward spoke about the school board’s recent discussions about a similar pay system. Currently, an employee who has worked at Carter County Schools for almost three decades will make roughly the same amount of money as an employee who walks into the same job on the same day, regardless of education or certification.

Lunceford said the board needs to include office-holders in the discussion, and the board also discussed pulling pay raise records from the past decade to begin to get an idea of where their numbers are at before launching their investigation.

The decision to begin work towards a wage rate system for all Carter County employees passed unanimously.

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