County employees attended the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee’s meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6, to voice concerns about the way compensation is handled by some county departments and to request a cost-of-living-adjustment pay raise.
Ignoring the pay grade system
Some departments don’t comply with the county’s pay grade system, which is unfair to other employees, according to attendees at the Aug. 6 meeting.
A pay grade is a step within a compensation system defining the amount of pay an employee receives. The pay grade is usually determined by the level of responsibilities performed within the job description of the position and the authority exercised by the position.
A higher pay grade is extended to employees with more responsibilities and to those who manage the work of other employees. Pay grades provide an outline for compensation by defining the amount of pay available at each step in the employment process.
The pay grades are supposed to be equal for positions with similar responsibilities across all county departments, but that’s not the case in Coffee County.
Members of the budget and finance committee acknowledged the pay grade system is “messed up” and encouraged those who attended the meeting and voiced concerns to start compiling documentation showing the pay grade system has been ignored and to bring those documents to upcoming meetings of the committee.
Demanding pay raises
County employees receive 3% step raises every other year, according to Director of Accounts and Budgets Marianna Edinger.
While employees have received their step raises, they have not seen a cost of living adjustment (COLA) since 2007.
Attendees at the meeting said it’s high time the county offered COLA raises to its workers.
Several employees said it’s unfair for the county to cover the deficit of the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center and pay $1 million for a settlement of a lawsuit, while at the same time refusing to boost the pay checks of its employees.
The conference center has operated in the red since opening its doors, and Coffee County and Manchester City equally cover the losses.
Last year, the county approved a settlement of nearly $1 million to be paid to former county employee Melinda Keeling and Jerry Gonzalez, her attorney, to end a years-long wrongful termination lawsuit.