Commissioned through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the study compared salaries and job duties for LaFayette city employees with those of other northwestern Georgia communities, eventually constructing a new, updated wage matrix to make city salaries more modern and more competitive.
In addition, for the first time ever, the city now has a complete list of job descriptions for every one of its positions.
The study was commissioned, LaFayette city manager Frank Etheridge said, as a means to look toward rectifying the uneven nature of city employee’s salaries, which were non-standardized and often arbitrarily set by the previous city administration.
The newly proposed matrix contains 24 separate pay levels numbered from 3 to 24, each of which contains 22 graded steps – from A to V – with A representing the entry-level salary and V the highest possible attainable salary for each position. The difference between A to V in each level represents a 50 percent wage increase.
Alex Damon of the Carl Vinson Institute presented and explained the new wage system to the LaFayette city council, who elected Oct. 30 to not yet act on its findings. Adopting the new salary scale will cost the city between $160,000 and $228,000, depending on how much is adjusted. City council members proposed that waiting until after the winter to determine the amount of revenue generated from cold-weather utility bills will help them make a more accurate decision on how and when to adopt the new scale.
When that time does come, there are two options for the city to consider if it decides to adopt the new salary scale, one of which is more cost-restrictive than the other. Making the switch to the new system will require a mandatory cost of $91,000 in adjusted salaries in order to place all city employees at their correct starting point on the scale, regardless. Secondary to this, a final equity adjustment to correct for longevity in city positions would cost either $137,500 for the recommended approach, or $70,594 for the more conservative correction. None of these projected costs factor in benefits or overtime payments.
The recommended equity adjustment would bump up city employees with at least one year of tenure two steps in their level; the more conservative adjustment would advance employees who have two years or more with the city at least one step.
As a result of adopting the new scale, most city employees would see a larger paycheck, as well as have a clearly-defined means of advancement through the pay scale.