Commissioners approve contract to evaluate employee pay

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rowan County Commissioners on Monday approved a contract to start a comprehensive compensation plan study.

The approved contract was valued at $37,250 and submitted by Springsted Incorporated. It was the least expensive of five total contracts submitted. Springstead — described on its website as a public sector advisory firm — has office locations in multiple states around the country.

At its core, the plan is designed to assess whether county employees are paid a fair salary in comparison to similar sized counties.

The next highest contract bid came from McGrath Human Resources Group at a cost of $41,658. McGrath is based in the Chicago metropolitan area.

During the county commissioners’ meeting, two questions raised were if the compensation plan was needed and if it could be conducted in response. County Manager Aaron Church, as an answer, mentioned the study would signify a proactive response in addressing the quality of compensation.

“One reason that the board may consider moving forward to do this is to be proactive in looking at the pay and classification … versus reactive in the case of Social Services after we’ve lost employees and ended up in a time crunch,” Church said.

He added that without data, the county wouldn’t be able to determine whether employees were appropriately paid.

With Social Services, county commissioners approved a stopgap plan in December that addressed an increased workload. It offered overtime pay to employees and brought in outside help after some left the department for higher paying jobs in other counties.

Church said the compensation study could be done before the end of planning for the fiscal year 2016 budget.

“You may have one department that comes back and everything is at rate,” Church said about the compensation study. “You may have another department where they are five percent below rate. As I’ve talked to employees, I’ve tried to explain that this is not a pay raise study. This is a pay classification study.”

The study passed without any opposition from commissioners.

“Sometimes you have to pay a little bit to get the information that you need,” said Commissioner Mike Caskey. “As we try to reset the county, especially coming off the recession, really like a depression in this county, I think it’s good to get this information. I think, going forward, it helps.”

In other business from the commissioners’ Monday meeting:

• Commissioners held a lengthy closed session to discuss an economic development matter at the Rowan County Airport and an application to the City of Salisbury for a conditional district overlay at the former Salisbury Mall.

County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds and County Attorney Jay Dees declined to provide any significant details about either topic.

Regarding the economic development matter, Edds said it would be an opportunity to add additional inventory to the airport. A deal between the county and the developer hasn’t been completed.

Dees said the part of the closed session relating to the former Salisbury Mall application was simply to gather the commissioners’ input on options offered by the city council pertaining to the application. The Salisbury City Council approved the county’s application on Tuesday.

• The commissioners approved a rezoning from Martin Marietta Materials Inc. to change 2.62 acres in the Woodleaf area from rural agricultural to commercial, business, industrial.

The piece of property, on Cool Springs Road, is located adjacent to the company’s quarry in Woodleaf. The company plans to use the land, which previously housed a fire department, as office space for employees.

• Commissioners approved a rezoning and conditional use permit that would allow Carolina Quarries to expand its waste storage facility at a quarry near Rockwell.

• Commissioners approved a resolution in support of a charter school effort in East Spencer.

• Commissioners approved, as a part of the consent agenda, an amendment to a space needs study.

The contract, for $11,300, would include conducting a visual assessment of existing structural systems. Agenda attachments state engineers would identify and observe parts of the vertical and lateral load resisting structural systems to determine their condition.

• Another item on the consent agenda was allowing use of the former J.C. Penney facility at the West End Plaza for a veteran affairs volunteer appreciation luncheon.

Monday’s agenda stated between 300 and 500 people would attend the event. Volunteers from 23 counties are expected at the luncheon, according to the agenda.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246