The Guilford County Board of Commissioners have been very, very good to county employees over the last two years – improving existing benefits, adding new ones, allowing for more time off and less restrictive work conditions – and reimplementing retirement benefits that were done away with years ago to cut costs.
Plus, last year there was an across the board 5 percent raise for every county employee from the lowest paid ones to the department heads and the county manager.
On Thursday, Feb. 1, the Board of Commissioners held a closed session and, after they came out into open session, handed out a whole new round of raises – with this batch of raises going to some of the county employees who are already the highest paid.
Some county department heads report to County Manager Mike Halford. However, one group – known as “direct reports” – do not. Some are hired and fired by the Board of Commissioners and some are elected officials hired and fired by the voters.
The motion made and approved by the board at the February 1 meeting of the commissioners reads, “Motion to approve the following merit pay adjustments for the Board’s direct reports and salary adjustments for the following positions, to be made effective and in conjunction with the County’s annual performance review schedule.”
Here’s a list of the employees who got raises along with their current salaries – which will all soon be at least 3 percent higher.
• County Manager Mike Halford, with a current salary of $268,252 annually, got a 3.25 percent increase in pay.
• County Attorney Andrea Leslie-Fite, with a current Salary of $251,879 a year, received a raise of 3.5 percent.
• Clerk to the Board Robin Keller, who currently makes $124,432 a year, got a 3.25 percent raise.
• Tax Director Ben Chavis, who makes $175,000 annually, got a 3 percent raise.
• Elections Director Charlie Collicutt, will soon be getting 3.25 percent more than his current salary of $ 142,413 per year.
• Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, is now pulling in $152,700 a year, and he’ll get 3.25 percent more in the near future.
• Sheriff Danny Rogers will get 3.25 percent more than his current salary of $204,837.
No explanation was given as to why the county gave the tax director slightly less than the other direct reports. It might be due to the fact that the 2022 revaluation of property values missed the mark, but that was more a function of the crazy real estate market than the fault of Chavis and his staff. Many counties across the state missed the mark on revaluing property. The revaluations, conducted by all counties at least once every eight years, are meant to bring the assessed value of property in the county in line with actual market value.