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What officials are paid here
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In 2009, private sector businesses that tightened their purse strings may have struggled to provide competitive salaries, but among public sector employers, such as those with governmental functions, wages tended to stay on the level of local governing bodies in regions with similar population densities, as well as reflect the experience and training associated with some positions.
The Coastal Courier examined the 2009 recorded salaries and compensation paid to government or governing-body employees in Liberty County and Hinesville, and compared them to salaries and compensation paid to employees of identical or near-identical entities in a city and county in Georgia with similar populations.
Liberty County, the city of Hinesville, the Liberty County Development Authority and the Liberty Regional Medical Center Authority all have comparable entities in Jackson County and the city of Newnan.
Dr. Steve Condrey, a senior public service associate in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, collects wage data and information about individual jobs and turns it into information that governments can use to determine a minimum and maximum salary for individual positions so they can remain competitive in other areas.
“If they have a new position, they’ll call us and we can tell them what the salary should be” based on assessments of identical positions elsewhere, Condrey said. In addition to comparing entities in similar-sized cities and counties, entities can look at the market in surrounding counties to see how much jobs are worth, he added.
Liberty County administrator Joey Brown said pay scales for constitutional officers are set by Georgia law; salaries such as those paid to Liberty County officials “have increases for length of tenure in office associated with them, as specified by Georgia code, and are different from base salaries — which may be applicable to someone seeking the office as a ‘newcomer,’” Brown said.

In establishing appropriate pay for development authority leadership, Liberty County Development Authority CEO Ron Tolley said salaries are typically based on education, certification and experience. Tolley himself holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics as well as a master’s degree in public administration. He holds certification by the International Economic Developers Council as a Certified Economic Developer and has 40 years of service in economic development, 29 of those with the LCDA.

Of the governmental bodies examined for this story, only the hospital and development authorities have unpaid, volunteer leadership. Jackson County’s development authority has no paid employees. Board Chairman Scott Martin said the five members there are appointed by the county commissioners for five-year, staggered terms.

The nine board members of the hospital authority in Jackson County are appointed by commissioners and council members, and serve six-year terms, said member Forrest Hagan.

County and city governments in Georgia generally participate in yearly wage and salary surveys compiled for the Department of Community Affairs. Organizations such as industrial/development authorities and hospital boards register with the DCA, but actual salaries were not found in a search of online database. School administrator salaries are available for review on the Georgia public records site,

Both counties and both cities submitted data for the 2009 DCA survey. Data from local bodies was submitted to the Coastal Courier by the bodies themselves, and data for Jackson County and Newnan was retrieved through the 2009 survey as well as through phone interviews.

2009 Wage and Salary Comparison Data
(2008 population estimates)

Liberty County’s population: 58,491

Chairman John McIver: $4,358.16
Commissioner Marion Stevens: $3,631.80
Commissioner Donald Lovette: $3,631.80
Commissioner Connie Thrift: $3,631.80
Commissioner Pat Bowen: $2,179.08
Commissioner Gary Gilliard: $3,300.36
Commissioner Eddie Walden: $3,588.00

County Administrator Joey Brown: $121,742.40
Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel: $87,609.60
Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones: $83,775.12

Constitutional Officers
County Sheriff Don Martin: $101,175.48
County Coroner Reginald Pierce: $1,800
County Clerk of Court Barry Wilkes: $100,565.92
County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall: $93.715.70
County Magistrate Judge Melinda Anderson: $83,674.76

School Administration
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer: $184,549.80
Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Conley: $124,429.44
Assistant Superintendent Mary Alexander: $96,139.68
Assistant Superintendent Jason Rogers: $91,482.00

Liberty County Development Authority
CEO Ron Tolley: $121,924
Board members are unpaid

Liberty Regional Medical Center Authority Board
Members are unpaid

Hinesville’s population: 30,152

City Council
Mayor Jim Thomas: $15,000
Council Member Bobby Ryon: $7,500
Council Member Keith Jenkins: $7,500
Council Member David Anderson: $7,500
Council Member Kenneth Shaw: $7,500
Council Member Charles Frasier: $7,500

Administrator Billy Edwards: $145,473              
Assistant Administrator Kenneth Howard: $103,548

Jackson County’s population: 61,620

Chairperson (full time): $18,903
Commissioners: $13,068
County administrator: $112,200
Tax commissioner: $89,234

Constitutional Officers
County sheriff: $105,391
County probate judge: $81,713
County magistrate judge (elected): $76,909
Probate court clerk: $43,712
Magistrate court clerk: $38,801
Coroner: $175

School Administration
Superintendent: $167,585.40
Assistant superintendent: $116,520
Assistant superintendent: $115,320

Industrial Development Authority
No paid employees
Board members are unpaid

Banks-Jackson-Commerce Medical Center Authority
Board members are unpaid

Newnan’s population: 30,474

Mayor: $10,000
City council members: $5,500

City manager: $146,827

Gainesville assistant city manager: $102,814*

* In 2008, Newnan had no assistant city manager. Gainesville is the city with the next-closest population to Hinesville that employs an assistant city manager.

wage comparison 2009
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