Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Letter to the Editor

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An Open letter from the Wilson County Republican Party to the mayor, county commissioners, local news organizations and citizens of Wilson County:

A pay raise proposal was submitted to the Wilson County Commission for some of the departments in the county.

MTSU did a job survey for the Joint Economic & Community Development Board, and they contacted 14 counties, but this study was not accepted by the Wilson County. The county then spent an additional $6,000-plus for another study that only included Williamson, Montgomery, Sumner and Rutherford counties. Average incomes in those counties are higher than those in Wilson County.

The county study neglected to compare county job salaries to comparable salaries in the private sector.

A private consulting firm also was used in the survey along with the county HR department. The private firm in their overview stated, "Furthermore, one could argue that for some entry level clerical, labor, maintenance, construction and similar jobs, the four counties cited are not entirely representative of the labor market in which Wilson County competes for talent."

It appears that only job descriptions were used and not the education requirement and background qualifications needed for a position in another county were considered. The private consulting firm stated, "It is important to ensure that incumbents in these positions possess the required knowledge, skill, and abilities to perform the job in the present and foreseeable future before making significant changes in pay."

In the proposed pay schedule, we find some pay inconsistent with the same job title, like the Administrative Assistant I. Salaries are listed per hour. Depending on what dept. you work in, the pay ranges from $16.87 per hour to $23.97 under the new county pay plan. The current average pay for an Administrative Assistant I in the private sector is $17.24 with no state pension and no longevity pay like the county employees receive. These few suggest further review is needed. Accounts Payable Clerk for the county is $20.72, and in the private sector it's $17.93. Groundskeeper in Wilson County is $16.10; Rutherford County is paying $10. Corrections Officer in Wilson County is $16.58; Sumner County is $14.65.

This pay raise package is part of the 20 percent property tax increase and comes with a price tag of $5.5 million. This is at an average cost of $11,373 per employee. What company in Wilson County could stand this kind of pay increase per employee?

But yet the county commission expects the citizens to pay up!

Wilson County government is supposed to support the chamber of commerce and help them promote and improve the business environment, stimulate a vibrant local economy and produce a cooperative effort to enhance the overall quality of life and prosperity. Their success leads to our success.

We strongly suggest that county salaries be tied to private sector employees who are paying the county employees' salaries.

The taxpayers of Wilson County just got hit with higher property tax assessments. And now the county wants to hit them again with a 20 percent property tax increase. This is tyranny!

We support fair and equitable market-driven pay increases and salaries for county employees and school teachers. We wondered why the earlier MTSU study was not accepted, and the county paid for another study that included Williamson County, one of the highest cost of living counties in the state.

This pay plan submitted is very incomplete and should be voted down by the commission.

The Wilson County Republican Party Executive Committee

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