The salaries of government employees are a public record, and anyone who wants to know how much a local or state government worker is making can simply ask, and, by law, the questioners must get a very quick answer. So, the Rhino Times was confused when, recently, it began getting calls and emails like the following:
“Guilford County Government is hiding pay rate from Emergency Services employees. EMTs and Paramedics are working, and have no idea how much they are being paid. This has been happening since 11/6/22. Guilford County, [the] City of Greensboro, [and the] City of High Point are undergoing a public safety crisis and the EMS system is collapsing. The human resources department of Guilford County is playing unethical games with their employees who depend on their public safety job to provide for their families.”
The complaints came not only from Emergency Medical Technicians but also from employees in other departments.
The Rhino Times was particularly confused by the complaints given that, recently, under Guilford County Manager Mike Halford, county employees have had benefits showered upon them. In the last 12 months, those employees have seen across the board raises, increases in retirement and insurance benefits, and many other perks that private sector employees would be stunned by in the current economy.
Two county department directors – Emergency Services Director Jim Albright and Social Services Director Sharon Barlow – both said that Guilford County was absolutely not withholding information from employees as to how much they were being paid, but they added that they did know the cause of the complaints that they – and many other department heads – had been hearing since early November.
One of Guilford County’s recent pay hikes is to go into effect for county employees in a late November paycheck, and the formula as to the exact amount of that increase is quite complex and is position dependent.
Both Albright and Barlow said that in large departments – such as Emergency Services and Social Services – it was prohibitively time-consuming for directors to individually contact hundreds of employees and inform them of the new salaries.
In a department consisting of four or five employees, on the other hand, they said, the director could sit with each employee and go over the details of the pay hike. However, in large departments – where the complaints were coming from – that wasn’t the case.
On Friday, Nov. 18, the two directors said, emails were scheduled to be sent to county employees to let those employees know exactly how much more they would be making under the new pay scale.
Hopefully, that should resolve the issue.