DETAILS: City of Columbus employee pay study continues

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A heated morning at Columbus City Council Tuesday.... the topic: the city employee pay study. Unlike the last meeting, a vote was passed.

Pay compression, employee retention and the fact that a study hasn’t been done since 2006 is what sparked the initiative. The study costing taxpayers roughly $350 thousand, roughly $10 million is set aside for implementation.

“We can’t do what they’re asking us to do... all those employees that have questions,” Councilor Judy Thomas said. “Let’s just hold it. But let’s make it right the first time. Let’s not adopt a plan that we know has issues then sometime later have to come back and correct them.”

You may remember just two weeks ago we told you about a second discussion at city council regarding city employee pay study.

More than 2,600 employees’ pay plans are under review. Salaries in question include both government and public safety workers.

The plan is organized by grade classifications: Grades 6-13 are on average the lowest paid employees who would receive the highest increase. Public safety, for example, is the middle tier, then higher paid employees would receive an 8% increase, the lowest pay bump.

But some employees feel the proposed pay increases are unfair because it doesn’t take into account the total amount of years worked... just the current time one has worked in their current position.

That’s why 8%, or 202 employees submitted correction appeals in the past week... a number City Manager Isaiah Hugley said shouldn’t stop the process from moving forward. He gave an example of one employee who is ready for the plan to be implemented as she would receive a $13 thousand raise.

“You talked about the 2500 employees in the study, but then you talked about about 100 who have concerns,” Hugley explained that employee aforementioned said to him. “She said, ‘Mr. Hugley, I saw who was fighting for the 100, but I could not see who was fighting for me and the 2500 employees.’”

“I want us to be able to do what is necessary for our employees,” Thomas explained. “If it’s 2, 200 or 2000, I don’t care. I want those employees to be treated correctly.”

Ultimately, an amended pay plan was voted on and passed. Now I.T. staff will start entering data to create infrastructure for the pay plan to go live as soon as possible.

Now, this isn’t quite the end. A hopeful final vote will be had in one month following this amended pay plan.