County pay study takes next step

First Posted: 10/25/2013

LUMBERTON — The consulting company conducting a county employee classification and compensation study finished collecting the information last week that will be used to determine if there needs to be changes in Robeson County’s current employee pay scale and job classification plan.

According to Jason King, the county’s assistant manager, representatives of Springsted Inc., of Richmond, Va., have concluded interviews and information-gathering sessions with all of the county’s approximately 1,100 employees and will now put together a salary and job description plan designed to bring pay and job responsibilities in line with other counties and the “overall local government market.” It would need the approval of the county Board of Commissioners, which authorized the study.

This is the first time since 2004 that such a study of the county’s pay and classification plan has been done. A “unbiased” third party was deemed necessary by the county administration after managers were requesting that positions within their departments be re-classified.

“We are enthusiastic about this study and see its value in retaining and recruiting the best talent to Robeson County,” King said. “The results will help retain high employee morale … so our employees and their families can stimulate the economy and enjoy good quality life through a fair and equitable system of compensation.”

King said that the results of the $35,000 study should be available by mid-January.

“They (Springsted) will come back with a salary scale and job descriptions,” King said. “They will be looking at our existing pay and job classifications … They will tell us if we need to enhance or fine-tune our existing grade steps.”

King said it is important that the county be competitive with other counties when it comes to paying employees for performing similar jobs.

“We want to compete so we can retain good employees,” he said. “We also want to be able to recruit the best talents to Robeson County.”

King said that employees often go to other counties to work where they are better compensated for the jobs they do. He said such a migration is especially evident with building inspectors, Emergency Management Services and Social Services employees, and individuals employed with the Sheriff’s Office.

County Manager Ricky Harris said earlier that the consulting company doing the study will present recommendations for the county commissioners to consider. He said that Springsted recently did a similar study in Brunswick County and Brunswick officials recommended the firm.

“There have been some modifications made in our current system over the past 10 years, but we need to do a new classification study to get all of the classifications in order,” Harris said.

King said that county employees have embraced the study.

“They consider it an awesome idea,” he said. “They have been glad to participate and provide the information needed by the company.”

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