The Floyd County Fiscal Court met in special session last week to approve pay raises for 46 long-time employees, with officials talking about the implementation of a new employee evaluation system.
The raises came about following a request on Aug. 28 by Floyd County Jailer Stuart “Bear” Halbert, who reported that raises approved when the fiscal court implemented a new administrative code in 2016 were never implemented at the jail.
“When they changed the administrative code back several years ago, we had employees such as your sergeants, lieutenants and captains that was in a certain price range of the minimum of their hourly wage. Well, we never did get that adjusted,” he said at that meeting.
The new code outlined six different pay grades for jail employees that range from $9.75 per hour to $17.75 per hour for the most experienced supervisor. The code also outlined six pay grades for road department workers, starting at a minimum of $8 per hour for a newly-hired general laborer and maxing out at $17.99 per hour for heavy equipment operators and mechanics. Pay rates for solid waste and mapping staff employees were also set for between $12 to $15.50 per hour in the new code.
After Halbert made the request in August, county officials learned that other raises approved as part of that administrative code change in 2016 had not been implemented, either.
“What we’re trying to do is bring the county in compliance with our administrative code, and the reason being is our employees don’t have a clear path how they get approved for advancement and things of that nature,” Judge-Executive Robbie Williams said. “So, in order for us to help you to become better employees, we need to let you all know what our expectations are.”
He said with the administrative code, the county is working to pay employees according to their qualifications, length of service, certifications and evaluations — which have not been done in the past for county employees.
“Now, we haven’t been doing evaluation reports in the past that I’m aware of,” Williams said. “But obviously, we have to start doing some type of employee evaluations because, what that does is, as leadership, if you guys aren’t doing your job, and you’re failing, that’s back on us. We’re not doing our job. So we need to clearly define to you what our expectations are. We’re not doing it to try to beat the employees up. We’re doing it to make you better employees.”
He said county employees who want raises should gain additional certifications.
“There’s obviously certificates and trainings and things that you can do to become more valuable to Floyd County,” he said.
The raises come with officials reporting that long-time county employees earn about the same as newly-hired employees.
“There’s no fairness in that,” Williams said. “There’s no fairness in a guy coming in and doing his job and working and his job performance is sub-par to the guy next to him that’s working just as hard and he gets paid just as much. There’s no desire to try to be a better employee. So, there’s a reason for this.”
During the meeting, the fiscal court approved the transfer of more than $55,000 into accounts affiliated with these raises. County Treasurer David Layne said the raises will probably cost about $60,000 in payroll this year.
Layne said the raises didn’t occur in 2016 because the funding was not available.
“We didn’t have the money,” Layne said.