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City council convenes for workshop on salaries and budget
hville city council workshop
Council members and city employees gather at an afternoon session to discuss the recent Job Classification and Compensation Study. - photo by Lainey Standiford

Hinesville city council and other city employees gathered at a special called session Oct. 15, to delve into the Job Classification and Compensation Plan Report. After much discussion, council decided on a course of action to be voted on in an upcoming council meeting.

The Job Classification and Compensation Plan— an internal and external salary equity analysis— was conducted by Condrey and Associates to provide a revised classification system and proposed pay plan for all employees, according to City Manager Ken Howard.

“Essentially this was a response to a request made of staff to look at pay classification and plan for the city of Hinesville,” Howard said.

The study incorporated other local areas into a salary study, including: Brunswick; Griffin; Richmond Hill; Statesboro; Warner Robins; Valdosta; and Glynn, Liberty, Lowndes, and Tift counties, Howard said.

Based on recommendations from Condrey and Associates, the city developed multiple scenarios that represent different courses of action and their resulting expenses, Howard continued.

“I asked the staff to consider the recommendations and make the necessary adjustments,” Howard said.

Concerns were voiced by multiple council members concerning the city’s operating reserve fund, which, with different scenarios, presented a less than desirable amount to be set aside. District 2 council member Jason Floyd worried about not having enough funds to set aside to meet the initial goal set each year of $150,000 in reserve.

“There is no scenario we’re looking at or considering that puts $100,000 into reserve,” Floyd said.

“I don’t want to take money away from anyone,” Jenkins said. “We have a responsibility to the city to ensure it’s properly funded.”

After a request from council to develop scenarios that put nearly $100,000 into the reserve budget, Ryon re-calculated some costs and potential answers and created another three possible courses of action, which included a modified Christmas Bonus. Employees could receive a proposed 60 percent of the originally budgeted bonuses.

The recommended course of action includes a classification adjustment of $169,253, and an equity adjustment of $125,082, in an attempt to level out the pay standards and assure all employees are receiving fair compensation, Howard continued. There are proposed additions, including a request from District 4 council member Keith Jenkins to increase the city’s contribution percentage wise to their health insurance to 70 percent, he said.

“It would go from two thirds to 70 percent,” Howard added.

The health insurance change in this particular scenario would produce a cost of $23,415, Howard said. The city will pull funds to cover the expenses from three different funding sources that were included in the proposed FY19 budget, according to Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Ryon. The funds will be pulled from Merit Potential, Christmas Bonus and Operating Reserve amounts in the FY19 budget.

“In previous years, we’ve set aside $100,000 in the Operating Reserve budget, but this year we set aside $250,000,” Ryon said. “We weren’t sure what kind of impact the salary study would have, so we set aside even more so we’d have that opportunity to have funds set aside to fund any changes resulting from the salary survey.”

With funds pulled from those three sources to cover the expenses of implementing a classification adjustment on Nov. 1, and an equity adjustment based on employee’s anniversary dates, it leaves a total of $101,633 to set aside in the Operating Reserve Fund, Ryon calculated.

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