Supervisors OK raises for part-time employees
MILFORD – The Caroline County Board of Supervisors voted this week to give part-time employees pay raises ranging from 25 cents per hour to $1.25 per hour, depending on their years of service with the county.
The board voted unanimously at its regular meeting Tuesday evening to implement the recommendation of County Administrator Charles Culley – after a discussion about the lack of pay raises for similar employees in the county school system and the county’s appropriation for public schools in the budget year that began July 1.
The supervisors briefly discussed the idea of pay increases for part-time employees when they adopted the fiscal year 2012-13 budget at their regular June 12 meeting.
The raises recommended by Culley, which affect 53 employees, will cost the county a little over $36,000 in the current fiscal year.
Culley recommended hourly pay increases as follows:
• Three to four years of service (15 employees), 25 cents.
• Five to nine years of service (24 employees), 50 cents.
• Ten to 14 years of service (seven employees), 75 cents.
• Fifteen to 19 years of service (four employees), $1.
• Twenty or more years of service (three employees), $1.25.
Employees with less than three years of service and those earning $20 per hour or more were excluded from his proposal.
In a memorandum to the supervisors for the board meeting, Culley noted that pay rates for many part-time employees above the federal minimum wage have not been adjusted in recent years.
Part-time employees who earn the minimum wage have received pay increases as the minimum wage has risen in recent years; the last increase was to $7.25 per hour in July 2009.
However, this has resulted in “pay compression issues,” noted Culley. “Since employees with multiple years of service have not received pay increases outside the increase in the minimum wage, they are not paid the same as newly hired employees. This is not a recommended personnel practice.”
He recommended whole number hourly rate increases instead of a percentage increase because, although more costly to the county, they would be “more meaningful” to employees, said Culley.
As an example, if an employee earning the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour received a 2 percent pay raise, that would translate to an hourly wage of $7.40. A 2 percent raise for all part-time employees would have cost nearly $12,000 annually.
“How is this going to look,” asked Supervisor Jeff Sili, since the School Board did not grant raises for its part-time employees. His question immediately prompted a discussion of funding for the school system in the budget the supervisors adopted last month for the new fiscal year.
Supervisors Floyd Thomas and Reggie Underwood noted that the supervisors had directed the School Board to give pay raises to support personnel, but the School Board was not bound to do so and did not.
“I can’t control the School Board,” said Thomas.
Although the supervisors reduced local funding for the school system by $350,000 in the new budget year, chairman Wayne Acors noted that the school division received more funding from the state. The increase was the result of a change in the state formula for dispensing money for education that takes into account a locality’s ability to appropriate money for education. Caroline’s school system received more state funds because, under the adjusted formula, the county’s ability to appropriate money for education declined.
“I guess I’m just kind of baffled,” said Supervisor Jeff Black, how the supervisors could treat the school system differently.
In his revised budget that was adopted by the School Board, Superintendent Greg Killough said the school system could not afford to grant pay raises to support employees without making personnel cuts. The budget also eliminated one of two assistant superintendent positions.