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Bulloch Local Government

Statesboro Council approves pay changes, not all problems resolved

At Tuesday’s Statesboro City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve “Phase 1” of the city’s new pay program created by Evergreen Solutions, LLC.


During the last budget hearings for 2015-2016, a 1.5% across the board pay increase for all city employees was put on hold in exchange for a compensation study to evaluate how Statesboro employees are paid and how that compares to other cities similar in size and operation. This came on the heels of complaints that new employees were hired and making more than tenured employees while the city experienced, in certain departments, immense turnover and problems with recruitment and retention. Pay studies are recommended every 10 years with updates made every 5, however, the City of Statesboro did not have a previous pay study or program to work off of.

After 15 months of assessing 304 employees and their job classifications through a 4-pronged process of outreach with employees, job assessments, market comp surveys, and recommendations, Evergreen Solutions had the following information to report:

  • Many of the job titles and job descriptions were incorrect related to the duties employees are serving
  • Many employees were upset about the fact that they haven’t seen raises in years
  • Supervisors biggest concern was turnover and retention
  • 274 city employees were listed as “below the midpoint” of fully proficient in their job because of the pay plan and step scales
  • The lack of performance-based pay harms growth and upward mobility for employees
  • Pay compression (meaning new hires with the same qualifications make more money than tenured employees) affects several departments
  • Statesboro hires employees at a rate of 13% lower than their market peers

Recommendations:

  • Implement Phase 1 at a cost of $280,991 to bring 171 employees up to the minimum of his/her classification of recommended pay.
  • Implement Phase 2 (&3) for a total cost of $565,899 to bring 272 employees to the midpoint of their classification of recommended pay (This amount INCLUDES the $280,991 from Phase 1.)

Some employees may not see an increase, but no employee will see a decrease. Every classification and range changed, however. This will place Statesboro in the 55th percentile of employee pay, meaning the city will be better than 55% of the other markets of similar size. The hope is that this will make Statesboro jobs more competitive.

Outside of the pay compensation changes, all city employees will receive a $500 one-time bonus. This is not a cost of living increase and does not factor to retirement benefits. The money was allocated from the previous year’s budget for the 1.5% pay raise that was never implemented.

Councilman Jeff Yawn asked the Evergreen Solutions representative whether or not partial implementation of the phases would leave pay compression issues on the table, to which he acknowledged that was a likely possibility. He also noted that the new pay program does not fix all pay compression issues, one that has affected the Statesboro Police Department considerably.

Mayor Jan Moore expressed her appreciation for the “thoughtful” work and process of all those who contributed, but expressed her concern over the city’s ability to pay for phases 2 and 3 and maintain those salary increases. Moore noted that Statesboro’s General Fund budget is the lowest in the region, meaning the city does the most with limited resources, noting that the city does not have LOSTs like other towns in the region. Interim City Manager Robert Cheshire thanked the employees for their patience.

Councilman Phil Boyum expressed concern over voting for the package after only having the proposal to review for 3 days, however, all members present ultimately voted to approve the implementation of Phase 1. Councilman John Riggs said he was all-in-favor of paying the employees more and Cheshire interjected that tweaks could be made along the way.

The vote was met with applause by city employees from the audience.

No departmental specifics were provided during the presentation. AllOnGeorgia has filed an open records request with the City of Statesboro to obtain the full pay study recommendations and what exactly will be implemented across departments. Once that request is fulfilled, we will offer additional information.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com.

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