Columbus conducts pay study

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2018

Town has recommendation for up to 8.5 percent pay increase

COLUMBUS — The town of Columbus has a new pay study from MAPS Group, which is recommending an 8.5 percent increase to the town’s payroll.

Columbus met last week and heard from Cheryl Brown, with MAPS.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Brown said the first step was identifying the need and then she came in and talked with Town Manager Tim Barth and all employees. She said she brought in a position description questionnaire, which included the duties each employee does on a daily basis and the amount of time they spend on those duties.

Part of the study was to give the town new job descriptions for each position, based on what employees do currently.

“We assigned the job title, job classification for those positions,” Brown said.

The study included comparable salaries of similar jobs in other jurisdictions, including some larger areas and similar sized cities.

Brown said she surveyed 11 other local governments, including Asheville, Hendersonville, Fletcher, Saluda, Laurel Park, Spindale, Forest City and Shelby. She said she put all the information in a spreadsheet and averaged it all, then did another where she pulled out large areas like Asheville, Hendersonville and Shelby.

Brown gave council members large notebooks of all the information, which includes her recommendation of option 2 on a pay raise increase, which is an 8.5 percent adjustment to payroll.

The study also includes updates to the current payroll policy based on current best practices and changes in law. She also looked at benefit comparisons to other areas and made suggestions to changes in employee benefits.

“Your sick leave, for example, is quite outside of the norm,” Brown said.

She recommended Columbus give a day per month in sick leave, and to cut the maximum vacation days to 20 instead of 21 days. Columbus currently gives five days of vacation for newer employees and up to 21 days, depending on years of service. She also suggested the town implement hours for school and volunteer leave. The town currently offers four hours of school leave, but Brown said other jurisdictions are now offering time for volunteer work.

“After hearing from Ms. Brown, I think it would be best for you to take some time to review the information,” Barth told council members. “It can then be discussed at the next regular meeting or at a separate workshop, if you feel that would be better.”