County managers almost always look after county employees, and Guilford County Manager Mike Halford is no exception.
At a Thursday, Oct. 21 work session Halford explained to the Board of Commissioners that pay for Guilford County employees hadn’t kept pace over the years with the pay of comparable local governments in the state.
As a result of that discussion, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to give all Guilford County employees a 5 percent pay increase starting in mid-November. The increase means the employees will not get a previously scheduled 3 percent pay increase in January 2022 since this 5 percent pay increase replaces and enhances that.
The 5 percent pay increase will also apply to currently unfilled county positions.
Halford told the board, in the third-floor conference room of the county-owned BB&T Building in downtown Greensboro, that if one looks at the ratio of county employees per 1,000 residents, Guilford County employees are more “efficient” than those in 98 other North Carolina counties.
“So were’ better than 98 percent,” Halford said of county employee efficiency.
He also used Advanced Emergency Services workers as an example of county workers who have fallen far behind in equitable pay.
Halford said several neighboring counties pay emergency responders more than Guilford County even though the workload in Guilford County is greater.
Detention officers and social service caseworkers are particularly hard to hire at current pay rates, Halford said.
There are currently 313 vacancies in Guilford County government. That means there is about $14.5 million the county won’t have to spend on salaries this fiscal year, but it also means that overtime costs increase.
Last year, overtime pay cost Guilford County $6.3 million. This year, based on current trends, overtime pay is projected to cost more than $6 million again.
“So, the county is paying for things one way or another,” Halford told the board.
The new pay raise will cost the county $1.7 million in the current fiscal year and is expected to cost about $2.5 million in the next fiscal year.