Brunswick commissioners approve $9.78M in raises for county employees

Brunswick commissioners approve raises for county employees in 4 to 1 vote

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — In a four to one vote, the Brunswick County Commissioners approved a new pay scale to give employees a raise.

A pay study shared at Monday night’s meeting revealed several employees are getting paid below market compared to similar jurisdictions. The approved recommendations from the study will create two pay plans: a general pay plan and a public safety pay plan. Employees will be assigned to their new pay grade and move their salaries to the same percentage above the minimum salary for their pay grade or they will get a 7-percent cost of living adjustment, whichever is greater.

It will cost $9.78-million to implement the new pay plans, but the county says it will not cause an increase in taxes.

Commissioner Pat Sykes voted no because she wanted to make adjustments to the proposed raises, expressing concern that doing too much at once could be bad for the county in the future. However, the other commissioners, like Frank Williams, supported the pay increases, especially with New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington making adjustments recently.

“We want to have a competitive pay structure so that good people want to work here and stay here long term,” Williams said. “This place could probably run fine without the commissioners and I’m one of them but it can’t run without our employees. They do work that most of us aren’t qualified to do and we rely on them.”

Sheriff John Ingram was present for the meeting and says he is grateful to the commissioners who supported the raises.

“I think not only for the Sheriff’s Office but for all county employees it recognizes all of the hard work and effort they put into making Brunswick County what it is today,” Ingram said.

The sheriff says the employees in Brunswick County are worth every penny because of their service to the county. With the quickly growing population, Ingram says services need to be provided to keep the community operating properly. In regards to law enforcement, their main focus is security and safety.

“It’s not just about enforcing laws, it’s so much more than that. Allowing us to be a part of the community and allowing us the honor of serving them and working for them is something we are all very grateful for. But at the same time, we all have families and they want to be able to live and work and enjoy life like everyone else.”

Especially following neighboring jurisdictions making changes in recent weeks, Ingram says the bump in pay will allow the Sheriff’s Office to better recruit new hires and help them retain current employees.

“If we’re not competitive, we can’t do that. We can’t expect people to live in an area that already has a high cost of living and raise a family and work a job or pursue a career with us if it can’t be competitive. We can’t be competitive as a county,” Ingram said.

With the growing population and call volume, County Deputy Director of EMS Lyle Johnston says the commissioners’ decision is a good one.

“I think this decision will help us not only retain people but also help us recruit people in to fill some of the new positions that we’ve been granted during this budget year to add units on to our system,” Johnston said.

The pay adjustments will be effective on paychecks dated May 5.

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