“What have you done for me lately?”
That was the type of question the Guilford County Board of Commissioners asked in a long Thursday, Dec. 13 closed session where the board evaluated the performance of, and decided the raises for, three of the key employees that answer to the board: County Manager Marty Lawing, County Attorney Mark Payne and Clerk to the Board Robin Keller.
There must have been a lot to talk about in that regard because the closed session in the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House ran long and, in fact, led to a 20-minute delay of the commissioners’ evening meeting scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.
Here’s what the commissioners decided for the three…
They decided to wait until January to tell anyone what the raises are.
Commissioner Jeff Phillips said after the closed session that the board had made a decision on the three but there were calculations to be done by the Human Resources Department and other paperwork so the board would vote on the raises next month.
In the past, as common practice, the board has made its decision in closed session and then immediately come into open session and announced the raises.
It’s not clear why things are being handled differently this time around.
In addition to the three county employees that the board decided, they were scheduled to evaluate Tax Director Ben Chavis; however, Chavis was said to be out of town.
Right before the closed session, Commissioner Hank Henning said that it’s a difficult process because the commissioners’ knowledge of the handful of employees it oversees is incomplete, but he added that he thinks the board does a much better job than boards in the past. He said that, when he was elected in 2012, there seemed to be little rhyme or reason to the raises handed out in the county.
Henning also said that the county manager had done a very good job of establishing a raise system for the employees under him.
“I do think Marty implemented the fairest process possible,” Henning said.
Payne, the county attorney, said after the closed session that the board had not come out and told him his services would not be needed for the evening meeting, which Payne said, he took as a positive sign.