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Leaders learn Town doesn’t pay employees enough

Jonesborough does not pay some of its employees enough compared to other towns its size, according to information presented at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen retreat last Tuesday.
“Some positions are dramatically underpaid,” said Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe. “We just want to equalize the situation.”
Employees at the very top and very bottom of the pay scale are whose salaries are most disproportionate, he said.
Wolfe said the Town needs to do a better job at organizing its employees and also needs to run more like a business.
With that goal in mind, Town employees have put “hundreds of manhours” into developing a new pay plan to compensate employees more fairly for the jobs they do, Wolfe said. The plan, which included analyzing and rewriting almost every job description in the Town, is a “hybrid” between what public sector and private sector organizations would use.
Through the plan, the town can attract and retain the best employees for the dollars it has, officials said.
The BMA can choose in the future to adopt the plan all at once and pay a large up-front cost, or to gradually ease the plan into place by giving three percent raises to employees based on what their salaries should be, as compared with other towns.
The salary analysis, however, does not take into account Jonesborough’s contributory retirement system or the fact that employees pay 10 percent of health insurance costs.
The BMA also heard updates from Town Administrator Bob Browning on the wastewater plant, water infrastructure, and on a water meter replacement program to help better track water use and payments for customers.
The Town is also waiting on a review to pressure-reduce its water system.
Aldermen were given a chance to present ideas on improvements for Jonesborough, including enhancing downtown landscaping and revamping the Visitors Center.
The BMA discussed the issue of more sidewalks, as well as repairs to the ones in downtown Jonesborough. The Senior Center’s size was brought up, and officials said they would look into a possible expansion, working with Washington County, a few years down the road.