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Town ‘restructuring’ a good thing for employees

The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen is continuing to study recommendations from Operations Manager Craig Ford and an MTAS consultant that would result in a substantial salary scale adjustment for town employees.
After hundreds of hours of research and work on the Work Task Analysis, the consultant and Ford recommended salary increases for those at the lowest and highest ends of the pay scale, saying that employees falling in those categories are not paid nearly as well as their counterparts working in comparable markets.
At first glance, one might flinch at the idea of approving pay increases at this economic point in time.
But upon closer examination, there appears to be good sound reasoning behind the plan.
Over the past few years, there has been a high rate of turnover in the town’s workforce. This revolving door effect has no doubt negatively impacted the Town’s ability to attain any sort of continuity within its governmental infrastructure.
The start and stop of employee tenures results in lost time for retraining new hires, loss of experience and loss of personal investment on the part of the employee in the town he or she works for.
According to Mayor Kelly Wolfe, the estimated cost of the plan is about $120,000. He advocates implementation of the plan right away. Saying that the additional expense can be divided up over three year, Wolfe wants to adopt the restructuring plan and work the pay increase into future budgets starting immediately.
Town Administrator Bob Browning says he would rather move more slowly with the pay increases, saying that it would be difficult to change the town’s fiscal structure this year. He is requesting a more gradual approach and has recommended a three percent cost of living increase for employees.
As with any major change, there are pros and cons. But we feel that it may well be time for an appropriate and industry-equitable wage system for Jonesborough.
Not only would it help motivate employees to give their best and contribute to the Town of Jonesborough’s future growth and sustainability, one would also think that such a move would encourage much-needed employee retention.
And with that, it would see logical that future challenges that the Town will no doubt face would be best met by fairly paid, invested and experienced employees.
Setting such a budget, which includes such raises for employees, will force strict limitations on any other frills. However, it will send a clear message of priorities to the Town’s current and potential employees.
Perhaps if the Town could dispense with the parade of professional analysts and researchers who leave behind tall stacks of unused and unimpressive reports, there would be a bit more in the coffers to reward the underpaid employees who make important and daily contributions to the Town of Jonesborough.