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Deadline approaching for NHC employees

The deadline is fast approaching for New Hanover County employees looking to volunteer to take early retirement. The county manager met with department heads on Friday. The county is asking eligible employees to step forward and volunteer for early retirement. This includes any and all county employees, including members of New Hanover County law enforcement agencies. If not enough choose this option, the county will go forward with a lay off plan. "If no one takes advantage of this, we'll have to look at the furloughs, and possibly layoffs just to get our budget in line," said NHC Commissioner Jason Thompson. County employees have until February 27th to decide.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


New Hanover County cutbacks

So the employees have the opportunity to take voluntary retirement and if there are not enough volunteers financially struggling employees may be let go??? What happened to mandatory retirement? There are people with the county that have the 30 years in and are retirement age but still do not retire because their lifestyle will take a bit of a decline. Well so will the food on the table of these single parents that could lose their jobs or the person that is the sole income of a family that has medical problems. I think if you looked really hard you could find a lot of wasteful spending like ten county vehicles taken for an out-of-town excursion unrelated to county business but on the county's expense.

Broken Contract - NHC at its best

Not all who work for NHC have 20 years. How about 3.07 hours of pay that when you signed a CONTRACT of employment. This was the amount of personal time you would EARN. This is now gone. 40 hours of unpayed time your must take off. Gee was that not part of the contract also.Ask the employees who 40 hours of work off without pay was a house payment. Why is NHC still building a new office in the County Complex ? The work has not stopped on that.Why have the Elected Officials Not put the pay they get on hold?What about the benefits that they get from NHC? Are they on hold? No. True servents of the public are getting a broken contract after not even getting merit raises last year and a !% cost of living raise. Why service the public just to get kicked in your privates. Thank for your time.


It almost sounds like you think you belong to a labor union. As much as people here dislike unions their contracts are enforcible in a court of law. Sure doesn't sound like yours is.


I think it is good to have a thinning of the herd. I worked for the county for a while and some of the employees need to be let go. I woudl say 50% of the county employees I knew were just there to collect a paycheck and that was it. Years after I left I was driving down the road and slowed down as I drove by a work site. There were two men in a hole up to their waist working very had digging ad they looked hispanic. Then you had at least 7 old white guys with large beer bellies drinking coffee and smoking as they watch the the hispanics dig. I say fire the white guy and promote the hispanic guy. Maybe they will start workign off those beer bellies.

This will get you another

This will get you another vote commissioner next term

New Hanover County Employee Layoffs

I have a wonderful idea as a tax payer. How about the city council and county Commissioners take a cut in pay? Drive their own vehicles and pay for their own gas like the rest of us the tax payers. Give up all the "perks" of the job. All the firemen, law enforcement officers, and EMS workers risk their lives everyday to assist the public. I have worked in all three of these forms of employment in the past. The commenter above is totally correct it's not about the glamour at all. Let's pay the City Councils and County Commissioners salaries from all of the parking fees they are making downtown or better yet have a bake sale. Better yet let the parking company that is making all the money repair the roads and the sidewalks. I mean you get charged to park everywhere in this town. They are obviously making a gross profit margin. The taxpayers pay for the road and the maintaince and some out of town business totes away the profits. Makes alot of sense doesn't it? Downtown violence is only getting worse because the city restricts the funds to the police chief, who is going all the can with what little he recieves. Everyone mentions the new cars and equipment...those have been paid for by grants, not the tax payers. City Council and the County Commissioners should listen to the taxpayers and realize if the parking downtown were free more people would come downtown and shop and therefore increase the revenue downtown and therefore increase the numbers in sales taxes. I mean making improvements to the sidewalks in front of all those buildings that have stores where no one can afford to shop or have to stay in a constant panic of getting a parking ticket makes alot of sense. How about repairing what needs to be repaired and taking the remainder of the money and spending it more wisely. The city and county has wasted money on things like making Front Street into a two way street. Who approved this at the tax payers expense? I haven't seen any improvements in the amount of people shopping downtown. It's time for the elected officials in this town to start thinking about what is in the best interest of the taxpayers not their own personal agendas.

what are you worth

all of our elected officals at the city and county levels need to replace the the workers that are forced to take early retirement or furloughs. mr thompson, with your BIG raise,why don't you take a pay cut?? along with all the other overpaid goverment blood suckers, remember, you are the county and city leaders. LEAD BY EXAMPLE, quit talking, get out and roll up your sleeves fill in where you are needed. quit wasting THE TAX PAYERS MONEY

Trim the FAT

Time to trim the fat. Of all the local municipalities that I have EVER done business with NHC has to be the worst. At any time you can go in and listen behind the walls to them standing around chatting all the time over nonbusiness item, they delay project on there own behalf, AND NOBODY CAN MAKE ANY TYPE OF A DECISION! A few of the people are very nice to deal with and are always professional, but the manager, supervisors and the local people know who needs to be cut.

Just a couple

Jim Craig, Gary McSmith and Beth Witherall should take early retirement. They alone stalled so long on many large project that would have brought a lot of revenue to the County. Let the people vote!

How about this...

One thing that the County leaders did correctly in this whole fiasco was offer an early retirement to those who qualify. Now if some people would just take advantage of it we would be better off. Think about this New Hanover County Citizens... right now there are people working (and I use that term with significant reserve) for you that are OVER SEVENTY YEARS OLD. That's right! These people are well past retirement age and still refuse to take advantage of the offer from this plan. It will hurt us all, in several different way, if something isn't done about this. Most federal agencies have a cap of 57 years old for full time workers. Why can't we do the same? Use your voice!

Come On - Be Reasonable

Come On Guys - Be reasonable...if there is not enough money to pay you - something has to be done. Would you rather loose your job altogether?


I will take a forty hour work week with out pay if it means I can keep my job. I am a single parent. I live pay check to pay check. If I get layd off and I am lucky enough to get unemployment it will not even cover the rent let alone my water, electric, food or gas in my car. I wish all those who can retire would. I am sure you have bills as well. However, your going to survive being retired. I may not survive being unemployed. Invest in our community allow others the opportunity to support their families.

If you live paycheck to

If you live paycheck to paycheck, then you cannot afford the time off. I do okay with my second paycheck, its my first paycheck that hurts me....and having to take a day off without pays would end up hurting. Some of these workers will be losing around $1,000

So you expect people to retire....

...simply to make room so that others below them can keep their jobs? HAHAHAHAHAHA! You must believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus too, right? I've said this many times; take it to heart: Altruism ends at the checkbook. People retire when they WANT to retire, not just to be nice guys. Everybody is looking out for number one, especially in this economy.

It's people like you...

It's people like you who they count on to just sit on the sidelines and do nothing about the injustices. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job (career rather), and I am grateful to be able to serve the citizens of this great county. But, the leaders count on people such as yourself to be satisfied that they even have a job... WE'VE GOT TO CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK PEOPLE!! You should be saying that the county is grateful to have you as an employee, not the other way around. I have as much to lose as the next person in this battle of sorts, but I'll not sit quietly and cowardly in the corner just thankful that they didn't fire me! Use your voice.

your local emergency worker,

your local emergency worker, you don't seem to understand... In this situation, "your voice" isn't going to stop the reality that people will be layed off if significant cutbacks aren't made and accepted. As a single parent, the person you replied to is quite justifed in the stance they are taking. Having a job right now IS a thing to be grateful for; ask any unemployed person down at the ESC. Rhetoric don't pay the bills, pal. But hey, if you want to stand on your pride, knock yourself out. Good luck to both of you.

Human life is not negotiable...

First off I'd like to say Thank You to the citizens of New Hanover County who support your local emergency service workers. It's people like you who keep us motivated to do our job well. Secondly, I understand that there are steps that need to be taken to save money in an economic shortfall that NH County faces (thank you too Mr. Tax Man). However, the solution that your County Commissioners have created includes limiting the public's right to vital and essential emergency public service. Forcing an already short-handed staff to take additional non-paid days off doesn’t benefit the public in any way. Citizens of this county depend greatly on emergency services (EMS, 911, Sheriffs, Fire) to give it their all when called upon and deserve nothing but the best service possible. Think about it this way… think about a time when you (the public) needed EMS, a Sheriff, a Fireman, or even called 911 for help of some kind? Were you frustrated with the service? If not, you will be now and if you were frustrated then it’ll only get worse. Emergency service is not a bargaining tool and there’s no room for negotiating when it comes to saving lives. No person in emergency services is doing it for the money or the glamour… they do it because they genuinely care about helping people and dedicate their life to it. Is human life negotiable? It apparently is to your County Commissioners and to your County Manager / Managing Team. The public can trust that I know what I speak of because I am one of the all-encompassing NH County employees who received that dreaded white sheet of paper that said we will be forced to take off 40 hours of work and will not be paid for it in any way… not even with earned vacation time. Speaking of vacation, NH employees will not be able to earn any vacation time until at least July ’09. For much of NH employees that is an additional 22-25 hours that is being raped from them and their families with NO plan of reimbursement whatsoever. In spite of the forced time off and the extremely limited service that the citizens of this county will be getting from now until who-knows-when, I vow to continue serving the New Hanover County family of citizens with vigor and superiority to the best of my now-restricted ability. Oh… one last thing. I know that there will be those of you who bring up the fact that city employees may not be getting raises this year. Well FYI, your New Hanover Sheriff’s Dept. did not receive raises last year and certainly will not be getting any raises any time soon. Your county manager makes over $165,000 a year.

You Are So Right

I agree with what you said. The cuts should start at the very top. Mr County need to take a 10% cut in pay as you make 5 times or more what the average county worker makes. The commissioners need to also take a 10% cut in their pay too as that is only a part-time position and they have other incomes to pay their way. Cut out all travel expenses, especially the frivolous stuff that most commissioners and people at the top do that does not have to be done. If you "talk the talk, then walk the walk". Don't expect the underpaid county workers to do without a weeks' pay because you can't efficiently manage.

"Your county manager makes

"Your county manager makes over $165,000 a year." It was brought up in another place I was reading that he also got a 5% raise while the regular employees got 3%. And this was right after the budget fiasco. There is a positive message to rank and file employees for ya.

Bruce Shell is a pure idiot

Bruce Shell is a pure idiot and the county commissioners are bad off to have someone in there like Jason Thompson. Thank the lord I live in another county.

Do you realize

Do you realize how stressful his job is though? I have no doubt that working after hours, attending meetings, etc... are all involved unlike city workers I see standing around while one person actually works. This morning for instance I see two guys putting out pine straw and three or four standing by their truck smoking. Big difference...

But if he can't stand the heat....

He shouldn't be be there and unwilling to make sacrifices of his own. 165,000 is too much to be paying a public employee during this time. Cut him back to 125,000 and he'll live, I promise you. Do you ever watch government access channels? He isn't the only one who works long hours and attends evening meetings before a sometimes hostile public. Administrative people make these meetings happen, deputies and police officers are there, planners, engineers, lawyers, etc. Most of those make a third or a fourth of what he makes. The guy whose miscalculation helped mess up this budget year is taking no personal pain in all of this. Message to public employees: Mess up as badly as you can, get a raise and be the one guy to survive the layoffs. Yep, good to know the the teachers, heath inspectors, building inspectors, environmental experts, etc are feeling great about their jobs after that lesson. These people are not all stereotypical bureaucrats like you want them to be. Some of them are in essential jobs and even if they are not laid off, the bitterness that will be left behind has disastrous implications.


What would you rather do? Pay less and have second rate service, or pay more and get good service? You get what you pay for.

I'll agree he has a very

I'll agree he has a very stressful job, but do not those that work in LE/EMS/Fire also have a very stressful job. And in some instances a more important job. The County Commissioners/Manager have an important and stressful job, no doubt, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't take a pay they are making those in other areas do


Yes, but the city can operate in a sense without many of it's employees. Certainly EMS, Fire are important, but if someone isn't there to write the checks and approve them then no one will be working. This guy could get far more most likely in the private sector, therefore I have no problem with it.

It would cost him a lot more

It would cost him a lot more in the private sector... And to say we get what we pay for is a joke...we are paying this guy 165k for a job that we could easily get the same results for a guy we paid 125k

Mr. Thompson

Hey Mr. Thompson, What are you doing to help out with this crisis? Are you taking days off without pay? Are you making the commissioners take days off without pay? Somehow I don't think so. WWAY, does someone on your staff have enough guts to ask these guys what they are doing to help out?


He is probably on salary so a week off would be pointless. He could give back some cash...... say 5 days worth? Somehow I doubt that will happen. The employees that have to take 5 days should take them over a 5 week period, 1 day a week.


Yaa Mr. Thompson are you taking a cut? Why not everyone take a 10%-15% pay cut including managers and voted personal. That is what they are doing in the private businesses, and then after the pay cut they do layoffs. People watch the news. We will see how quickly these local municipalities fall to there knees. It will give a clear indication of who manages the peoples money well.