Along with security issues that we believe the county must deal with this budget year comes another pressing, must-fix situation — that of employee pay.
Like security, the time has come to stop talking about the solutions and fix the problem.
There is a very real problem, and it’s not one that needs yet another expensive study whose recommendations will likely fall into a trash can without being followed by county leaders.
While we realize the tough economic times of the last few years aren’t behind us completely, and while we acknowledge that citizens here much prefer to hold-the-line on taxes as opposed to raising them, particularly if a hike is made necessary because of salaries, it is long past time for county commissioners to do the right thing when it comes to their employees.
These are the people, we might add, who serve citizens on a daily basis; the men and women on the front lines meeting our needs, answering our calls and doing the must-do things that keep our county running as we want it to. That doesn’t come without a price tag, though the sticker hasn’t been changed very much for most employees in many years.
While we aren’t advocating ballooning raises for the upper echelon employees of county government who already make reasonable — and competitive — salaries as compared to other county’s our size, we are in support of the vast majority of employees, from sheriff’s deputies to social services employees and all those in between, being given some meaningful financial incentive this year.
All it takes is listening to department heads like Wanda Robinson, director of Sampson’s Health Department, to know that our county is losing quality employees to better paying jobs in neighboring areas. We are losing valuable individuals with a wealth of knowledge simply because salaries here aren’t competitive and our history doesn’t reflect that the scenario is likely to change.
What’s more, finding replacements for those leaving is becoming increasingly difficult for much the same reasons.
We know commissioners have a plate full of requests and a wallet that doesn’t equal the needs much less the wants, but we believe rewarding those who make this county run efficiently and effectively should be an easy decision to make.