Preliminary results of a salary study reflect it will cost approximately $235,000 to bring Dawson County employees up to a competitive minimum salary range.
The study, performed by Archer Company based out of Rock Hill, S.C., will be used to decide what kind of increase Dawson County employees may receive in the 2015 fiscal year.
I want to be able to put something in the budget as far as some kind of increase to get these positions closer to their minimum or some kind of pay increases for employees, County Manager Cindy Campbell said.
County employees have not received cost of living increases in six years.
The study surveyed 322 full-time county positions. Part-time employees were not included, nor were elected positions such as commissioners.
Archer compared Dawson County salaries with counties and cities it competes with for employees. That means counties where we lose or gain employees from, Campbell said.
Forysth, Hall, Lumpkin, Pickens and Union counties were selected, along with the cities of Canton, Jasper, Cumming, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Ellijay and Gainesville.
The study had employees fill out a detailed questionnaire of their job description. A second round of forms was given to supervisors to fill out more information on positions.
Based on the answers, Archer evaluated each position through a point system. Archer utilized their proprietary job evaluation system to assign point values to tasks that combine to make up positions. This point system placed each position into a salary range, Campbell said.
While still in the drafting stage, the study suggests it would cost the county approximately $700,000 to bring all positions into the target salary range. A target salary range includes how many years an employee has held a certain position.
The survey was part of the Countys 2014 budget and cost $24,500 to complete.
In 2013, $10.9 million was paid out in salaries. The sheriff is the highest paid position in the county at $90,805. The lowest paid full-time county position is transit drivers at $20,800.
The county is currently undergoing budget discussions for the fiscal year 2015. Campbell said she thinks some sort of salary increase will be part of the budget.
I feel confident that well be able to do something for the employees. And well be able to have a plan in place that even if we have to phase it in we can do it over the next couple of years. I feel confident well be able to put something in the budget that will go toward what this salary study suggests.
The budget must be completed and approved by the end of the year. If an increase for salaries is approved by the board of commissioners, it would become effective in January of 2015.