Samples had contacted department heads about participating in such a survey at the request of the Bradley County Compensation Committee.
During Monday’s meeting, Samples told the committee Gayla Miller’s department (Circuit Court) did not want to participate, and none of the fee-based departments responded to inquiries.
Fee-based offices are paid from the fees collected, not the county general fund.
Compensation committee chairman Terry Caywood expressed concern that the departments could say they wanted to participate, but then change their minds later.
Since many departments are run by elected officials, these departments have the choice to participate in such a study or not. These offices would also have the option to participate in a countywide compensation plan.
At a previous meeting, the committee had discussed moving forward with a compensation study as the first step to researching the plausibility of a countywide merit-pay plan.
“We’re not looking to try to give a bunch of pay raises because we don’t have the money at this point to do that,” Caywood said. “We’re looking at an equitable way of dividing what we have.”
Commissioner Brian Smith said developing a pay plan now would be good for the future when the economy improves. He said a plan would give an idea of where the county is headed.
Gary Hayes of County Technical Assistance Service was present to answer questions.
He said surrounding counties have different factors and needs that may affect compensation plans.
Hayes said finding which departments have the most disparity and working at better balancing them is the goal. Hayes stressed that departments within the county should be compared to find any disparity.
Although some commissioners have favored a countywide compensation plan when funding allows, Hayes said it is possible to have different plans for different departments.
“I’ve seen some counties where they say, ‘Here is what we’ve got. We’re going to do this over a three-year period. We are going to do the best we can. You are not going to get it all at once,” Hayes said. “(There are) different ways and different approaches based on the economic funding.”
He said the majority of departments’ budgets are comprised of salary and benefits.
Elected officials also are empowered to file a lawsuit if they feel the funding is insufficient.
“You have to find ... where are your problem areas?” Hayes said.
Hayes said a plan would not have to include fee-based offices because they are under a separate budget.
No motions for moving forward were made during the meeting.