Pay disparities in Sylvester? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pay disparities in Sylvester?

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May 31, 2006

Sylvester - - Some people who live and work in Worth County say the county isn't doing right by its employees. When it comes to pay, some say there are huge disparities in what employees make - regardless of their years of experience.

Worth County Tax Commissioner Tabith DuPriest is speaking out.

"One of my clerks has been with the county 14 years. I take what she makes and then I look at another department and what they make for being here 5 or 6 years, theres no comparison."

She's seen turnover in the county, because she says empolyees aren't being paid enough and don't get pay raises fairly. According to her records, a clerk with the commission's office with 10 years experience is paid $27,000 while a clerk in the tax office with 14 years experience is paid $25,000.

Al Price is one of several people in Sylvester who attended a town hall meeting on this issue. He says the county needs to do a better job looking at how it treats its employees.

"If you're gonna cut. Lets cut programs, lets figure out where the monies are, it's not an easy thing to cut, but you don't cut the people."

He says, why not cut the amount spent on programs like garbage pick-up. In 2006, the county budgeted $200,000 for landfill expenses. By March, the county had spent over $80,000 more than what was budgeted. So in 2007, the county wants to double the amount budgeted for garbage last year. Extra monies some say could've gone to employee salaries.

"My response to that is...if they need it for salaries, they need to get out there and pick the garbage up," says Worth County Commission Chairman Dan Miller.

He says the county is taking the right step by calling off pay raises all together for county employees next year.

"People tend to never be satisfied anyway regardless of where they're at," Miller says.

In the meantime DuPriest wants the county to hire a review team to study how Worth pays its employees.

"Every county employee should be treated the same. Every county employee is important to make this county operate and function," she says. 

Miller says hiring a review team isn't a bad idea, but he says there's not enough money in the proposed 2007 budget to do it. He says residents pay for county employee's salaries, and the only way to give pay raises is to raise taxes....something the commission voted not to do.

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