Pulaski County Freezes Employee Wages in Midst of Longevity Debate

Pulaski County CourthouseFollowing cuts to their 2016 budget, Pulaski County has made a couple of decisions regarding employee compensation.

A joint session of the Pulaski County Commissioners and County Council took place Wednesday night. The goal was to review a matrix defining salaries for the County’s employees. Pulaski County has previously stated its goal of bringing compensation to a level that supports longevity.

Council member Linda Powers says their committee strived for consistency.

“Really our goal is to figure out something that is put in place so that we have consistency with longevity, and it’s standard, and then we as the council have got to buckle down and not let overspending happen,” says Powers.

Following the matrix would have meant a recognizable spending increase. That would have required equivalent cuts out of Pulaski County’s General Fund in 2016.

Creating the scale has been a laborious task for certain members of the council. Department heads have expressed their concerns of inconsistency in the matrix. Pulaski County says among the challenges in the effort is working around what it says is a significant revenue hit in recent years.

Council member Doug Roth says there may not be immediate changes.

“Is it going to take a few years for things to separate and for people to see the logic in doing it this way? Probably,” says Roth. “Like I said, most of the wages freeze. And they probably won’t change for two or three years until those people reach the next threshold, or we increase salaries.”

Following what was otherwise a passionate discussion, members of the Pulaski County Council voted to freeze employee compensation for 2016. The freeze will allow the council time to continue reviewing the salary matrix.

In addition, department heads have been asked to have new hires’ salaries approved in the future.