Pulaski County Officials Work to Clear Up Confusion over Salary Matrix, Part-Time Pay

Pulaski County employees can expect more consistency and documentation on the county’s salary policies. That was the consensus reached during a joint session of the county council and commissioners Wednesday on the county’s salary matrix. The system is designed to give county employees a set schedule when it comes to pay raises.

Council member Linda Powers explained that the goal is to provide consistency and reward longevity. But how exactly it’s supposed to work has been the source of confusion for many department heads. During Wednesday’s work session, several of them asked for clarification about when the raises were supposed to take effect.

Powers explained that originally, longevity raises were scheduled to be given to all eligible employees in January. But now, it’s been changed to the anniversary date of when a particular employee was hired, after it was learned that the county’s software system could handle that.

However, there are also other types of raises. There’s a probationary period, before employees get paid the full starting wage that’s listed by the matrix. Council members voted last week to set that at 90 days, but department heads complained Wednesday that they hadn’t planned for that when they made this year’s budgets. If any additional raises are given as part of the annual budget process, they will likely be given in January.

The salary matrix doesn’t apply to part-time employees, though, and the rules for them are less clear. Council members agreed that part-time employees are supposed to be grouped into two categories. Inexperienced part-time employees are to be paid $13 per hour, while those who’ve been in a position for more than seven years get $15.

But many of the department heads said they were never told about this policy, including Building Inspector Doug Hoover. “Do you think somebody’s going to hang around for $13 an hour for seven years and go to $15?” he asked. “I’m telling you, this is 2018, guys. Wake up! Wake up, guys!”

Additionally, Auditor Laura Wheeler explained that the council had agreed to let part-time maintenance department employees move up to the higher pay level after working 630 hours, rather than seven years, but didn’t take a formal vote at the time.

In the end, county officials agreed that more information about the matrix should be included in the policy handbook, and that each department head should be given a copy of the matrix. The matrix and policy committees plan to meet in the coming weeks. Anything that needs formal action will be addressed during upcoming council meetings