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Chatham Commissioners say "drop dead" to current county employees

By Bunkey Morgan
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - The commissioners and their Chatham Coalition friends keep saying the funds were not available to honor the employee pay increases promised on the PFP Agreements for the FY 2008/2009 work period.

The commissioners do not know how to manage money unless of course if it was for something they wanted

Our first question should be: did the county have enough funds to meet these obligations in the recently budget process and the two prior budgets? The answer is yes. Property values increased from $7.4 billion to $8.6 billion. The property tax income increased approximately $4.8 million plus the commissioners increased many fees. The county’s fund balance, savings account, increased by $695,000 this last year even after having to make up budget cuts by the General Assembly. So there was enough revenue coming in to meet the county’s obligations. If we are having hard times a good portion of it is because the commissioners do not know how to manage money unless of course if it was for something they wanted.

Let’s see how some of the extra funds that came in were spent. The county paid over $3.4 million for the Performance Building and this year are doing remodeling to the same building including an elevator costing over $500,000 so the few employees working there don’t have to walk up a flight of stairs.

The commissioners have also wasted money on another pay study to find out they are not paying their employees enough while still not paying them the increase they earned. New parks are important but not at the expense of the employees. A few weeks ago on the front page of The Chatham News we saw where the commissioners changed the budget to reinstate the bookmobile and support the Pittsboro Express bus. So why can’t they change it for their employees since funds were available? Many citizens and county employees feel the commissioners need to prioritize spending when they say they cannot pay the employees their raises they promised because of lack of funds.

Another statement the commissioners made was that 11 to 17 positions would have to be eliminated if they gave employees the increases they earned. Then why have these new positions been added during this same period; Sustainable Communities Director, Transportation Director, Environmental Review Officer, Human Relations Director, Affordable Housing and Green Building Specialist, Human Resources Analyst (part time), Director of Community Relations and at least three new positions in the Sheriff’s Department? Just these examples total ten new high paid positions and I’m sure there are more.

The majority of the current commissioners are still being dictated by the Chatham Coalition and their agenda

So don’t use the excuse you would have to eliminate employees who earned an increase while adding new positions. Our county has fewer employees then the average NC counties but the commissioners expect them to work harder and get less pay, unless you are fortunate enough to get one of the new jobs they created such as Green Building Specialist with a starting pay up to $58,282 plus benefits per year.

It is not a doubt in my mind the majority of the current commissioners are still being dictated by the Chatham Coalition and their agenda.

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