Marshall County commission approves pay increase for employees

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Marshall County Commissioners unanimously approved a pay increase for county employees starting Oct. 1, 2020, but it is not the one some employees were hoping for.

The option passed brings employees up to market value based on a recent pay scale, but it does not make them competitive.

Some departments and employees had hoped for a bigger raise in order to recruit and retain quality employees, which has plagued various departments including the sheriff and revenue offices.

Commissioner Rick Watson described the way the pay plan options were disseminated as “the worst attempt of doing that in my life.”

He said some people had information regarding the plans that had no right to have it.

Watson said he plans to address the problem with personnel board at a later date.

Sims said it is already difficult to recruit and retain quality employees especially with the current climate towards law enforcement.

He added that one employee is leaving in two weeks for another job due to the pay.

“Deputies before this pay plan was past today were making $13.36/hour. My corrections officers were making $10.91/hour. Now that this has increased, or this pay plan has been passed, we’ll be able to start out with our deputies at $15.44/hour and with our corrections officers’ right at about $13.00/hour or just under that. So, at the end of the day, everybody’s getting a raise. Our pay plan has been adjusted at market value, where we’re at now. I can’t complain about that. Obviously, I would have liked the see the competitive pay plan pass, but the commission had a hard decision to make. They made what they thought was right. I’m good with it and we’ll deal with it and we’ll move on,” said Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims.

Revenue Commissioner Michael Johnson told WHNT News 19 two employees, both with at elast 10 years experience, have left this year to higher paying jobs; One to Madison County and another to Etowah County.

“The fear is that, if we pass the more aggressive one, that some time in future, that we might be faced with having to make some tough decisions. Well, that’s the kind of hypothetical that’s not really appropriate to play with when you’re dealing with people’s livelihood,” said Johnson.

In begging the commissioners for a more competitive pay plan, Johnson expressed that he has plenty of computers, and working electricity, but he doesn’t have the people to get the work done.

“In 2014, there was a pay study done and we’ve been living under that umbrella ever since then. Some of us would argue we’ve been suffering under it. So, this was a great thing and I can’t stress it enough how much I appreciate both the personnel board and the commission bringing it up. Yes, at any point that the commission decides that we’re off kilter again, the personnel board can also ask the commission ask for funding to that, so yes, it can be revisited, it’s just the delay. It’s taken me since 2014 to get this revisited and in that length of time, we’ve suffered in our office and I’m just afraid that this isn’t adequate relief. We can’t wait another six years to readdress it,” explained Johnson.

Commission chairman James Hutcheson told WHNT News 19 that most, if not all of the 220 employees, will get a raise, but how much varies.

Hutcheson said the increase will cost the county an additional $715,000 each year.

In May, the commission approved to move 114 employees into a Tier I which will cost the county more than $100,000, plus a varying amount each year to maintain.

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