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Do commissioners need another excuse for not paying employees the increase they earned?

By Bunkey Morgan
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - On June 21, 2010 the Chatham County Commissioners told me there were not enough funds to honor the employee's pay increases promised on the PFP Agreements for the FY2008/2009 work period.

During the period in question property values increased from $7.4 billion to $8.6 billion. The property tax income increased $4.8 million dollars and 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 to meet the county's obligations.

The commissioner's next statement to me was 11 - 17 positions would have to be eliminated if they gave employees their increase they earned. The number of county employees has decreased since July 2008 when the PFP agreements were approved and there are six less employees today than 2008. If we did not count all the new positions our commissioners have added since 2008 the decrease in employee count would be much more than the 17 needed to cover this expense.

A third statement to me by the chair and vice-chair was no one received raises during this period. If that statement was true why did salaries increase $1,007,544 during the last two years? Some employees did receive an increase, some behind closed doors, but not the employees completing their PFP. I'm happy for anyone who received a raise, but you need to be fair with all employees which met the requirements. Here are two examples of "in your face" by our commissioners.

1. A key person with the responsibility of administrating employee's PFP received a $5,100 increase in September 2009. This happened to be the same period employees did not received their PFP increase.

2. A department head received a $5,900 increase in 2009 by commissioners in closed session without making it public and without having official minutes on record.

You had more income and fewer employees, but salaries increased $1,007,544.

Now please explain to your employees why they did not receive their raise.

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Do commissioners need another excuse for not paying employees the increase they earned?