Dougherty County says "NO" to employee raises

Dougherty County Chairman Jeff Sinyard

County Commissioners voted four to three to deny the Tax Assessor's Chief Appraiser a raise.

Commissioner Muarlene Edwards motioned to table the vote until she got more information since that particular job came with certain stipulations. "I needed some clarity on it. What makes that person's hiring different from our regular employees? And is the raise a merit raise or an equity raise. I could make a sound decision once I have all the information that's available to me" says Edwards.

Commissioner Gloria Gaines and Commissioner John Howard also voted to table the vote until they received more information on that particular employee's situation.

However the decision wasn't tabled â" it was denied by Commissioners Dr. Charles Lingle, Lamar Hudgins, Jack Stone, and Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

County Chairman Jeff Sinyard says there are a lot of county employees who deserve a raise, but after cutting nearly $2 million dollars from the most recent budget, and forcing employees to take furlough days, he says raises just aren't possible. "This commission would love to be able to help our people to give some raises but unfortunately at this particular point we're experiencing days that are not being worked, we're experiencing continued decrease in revenues and continued increase in needs but it's very important we balance this" says Sinyard.

Commissioners discussed the fact that if they grant one employee a raise, they may have to entertain the idea of giving hundreds of county employees a raise which is not an option.

Sinyard adds that when employees go a long period of time without being eligible for a raise the county risks losing that talent to another county government. If Dougherty County were to lose the Chief Appraiser and hire a new one â" they would have to hire that person at a higher salary than the current Chief Appraiser makes. Officials said at the work session that in order to be competitive they would probably have to offer a base salary equaled to the current salary plus the requested raise.

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