Commission chairman Lee: Study needed on pay
by Jon Gillooly
December 07, 2013 01:15 AM | 5137 views | 8 8 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — County Chairman Tim Lee wants to hire a consultant to review Cobb government salaries to determine whether they are competitive with surrounding governments.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on a request for proposals on Tuesday. If approved, the consultant could be chosen by early February, said Tony Hagler, the county’s human resources director.

Lee expects the study will take up to a year to finish and the recommendations could be expensive.

“Because it’s been such a long time since we’ve done one of these studies, the implications of the findings might be as much as a $2 million increase in what we need to allocate for salaries,” Lee said.

Hagler said the last two such studies the county conducted were in 1994, when it hired Slavin Nevins and Associates for $129,420, and in 2006, when it hired HR Management Partners for $107,824.

Hagler described the changes the last firm recommended for Cobb, which has about 4,500 full-time and 1,200 part-time employees.

“It was changes across the board, a lot of it affecting the sworn positions in police and fire and sheriff where it was bringing their salaries more in line with the market and adjusting our pay scales to be more competitive with the market area,” Hagler said.

Like Lee, Hagler believes there is a need for a new pay scale study.

“We know that we’re out of line with the market because we see what other people are requesting when they leave, and we know that people who are leaving to go to other jurisdictions, they tell us they’re leaving for more money, so we see more of that happening,” Hagler said. “Not actually doing a survey but just knowing from talking to other people when we can where our salaries sometimes are less than what we see posted in other jurisdictions.”

Hagler said an outside consultant is needed because he doesn’t have the staff in his department to conduct a yearlong analysis.

Also, “It was recommended by the last consultant that such a study should be done by organizations like, about every five years so we’re past five years.”

Lee said the Board of Commissioners in 2011 created the Citizens Oversight Committee, chaired by Brett McClung of northeast Cobb, owner of McClung and Associates, to look into best practices. That committee advised creating a second committee, called the Compensation Committee, formed in 2012 and chaired by Lee, to review Cobb’s human resources practices. It is this second committee that has now advised the commissioners to hire the consultant to produce the pay scale study.

Lee acknowledged it seems odd the Board of Commissioners created one committee resulting in a second committee that advised hiring a consultant to tell the board what to do.

“For the first-time reader, I wouldn’t disagree with you,” he said. “On the other hand, sometimes when I go and say, ‘OK, I want to just do it,’ people say, ‘Well, you haven’t studied it, you haven’t looked at it, shouldn’t we have a committee, where’s the citizens’ input?’”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 09, 2013
Oh Please. Not this again. Some vendor gets paid anywhere from 150 thousand to 1 million dollars to rubber stamp whatever the commissioners, chairman, and manager want anyway. Don't even get me started on what those human resource monsters want to do with the employees. I have seen pay study after pay study. Guess what they always say? They say the employees are under paid! Every time. Then You know what? The county does some kind of half way, too little too late gesture. I would rather them just give the money they would pay for the study to orphans. At least some good would come of it then. I wonder how the whole stadium thing will work with Atlanta levels of corruption in the police department. Its gonna come to that if they keep hiring a lower quality of applicants. Either that or we are going to have a department with about 400 officers. Go ahead commissioners, stick your heads in the sand. This is gonna be intersesting
December 08, 2013
OKAY so lets spend money to figure out pay. What a joke they have done other reviews under the radar and it means nothing. All they do is come up with a lame excuse on why not to pay anything more or provide better benefits.
Lucy S. Williams
December 08, 2013
Lee, nor Hagler said how much this new study could cost? Or at least will that cost be part of their vote? Also, I hope that if anyone sees an increase in pay, it's the men and women putting their lives on the line every day - ie: police officers and firefighters. Although, I'm sure there's going to be an administrative assistant or mail clerk who gets a better salary hike. Sad but true ...
John Galt
December 08, 2013
Does the county have a Human Resources department? Isn't part of their job making sure that compensation is competitive to attract the best talent? Why do we need these outside consultants to do something that should be part of the Human Resources Departments regular duties?

Waste not, want not.
Joseph Pond
December 07, 2013
After ramming the Braves deal down our throats, Lee wants us to believe that he now cares about what we the taxpayers think? How can the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners chair a sub-committee on government salaries? This is madness! We need to elect new commissioners that will stand up to Tim Lee.
Cobb Retiree
December 21, 2013
I agree, why spend thousands when salary structures around the country are easily obtained and a HR employee with spreadsheet capabilities and statistical distribution knowledge could perform the analysis in-house and convince Commissioners that the current structure is adequate as the country goes through decades of Japan-style deflation. Next recession is due in a few years based on previous cycles.
Just Wait
December 07, 2013
It doesn't take a study to know that Cobb County is losing police officers monthly to other departments because they pay better, have better benefits and a better retirement. It certainly shouldn't take a year to determine this. If another year goes past, Cobb County will have wasted even more money on hiring and training officers just so they can go somewhere else and continue to lose veteran officers because they are making less money than the year before. And all this happening as Cobb brings in the Braves. Who is going to provide security for the games, rent-a-cops? Changes need to be made today. A study can help to fine tune it later.
December 07, 2013
Sounds like an excellent idea. In Cobb we are used to the finest in Police, Sheriff, and Fire employees. The past few years of headlines seems to illustrate that Cobb is loosing some of the good ones, keeping some good ones, and retaining a few of the trash. When public safety pay is comparable to the other good paying departments in the area, we can demand the best.

We all know what happens when you maintain the status quo. Look at some of the neighboring metro counties for prime examples.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides