Cobb Board to Vote on “First Step” in Addressing Public Safety Pay and Retention Concerns
Cobb County Commissioners are expected to address police pay and retention at the May 28th Board of Commissioners meeting by voting for a one-time $1,475 merit-based payment for sworn officers and deputies as well as certified firefighter personnel.
“This is the first of a multi-phase approach to address the issue of Public Safety retention and compensation,” said Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce. “The Board will be considering other measures in the weeks ahead.”
Public Safety Director Michael Register says this is the first of several short-term approaches prior to October when the next fiscal year starts.
“This one-time merit incentive is meant to communicate appreciation for the tireless efforts of our Public Safety employees,” Register said. “The Chairman and the BOC also continue to look at viable options for increased pay and benefits for FY20 and beyond and I’m very optimistic that solutions will be found for these issues.”
The merit-based payment will go to qualified people in the three departments who scored satisfactory or higher job performance ratings in 2018. The one-time payment will not factor into pension calculations, and it will require the Board to revise the county’s compensation policy and amend the pension plan.
The current personnel budgets for Police and Fire should be able to handle this one-time payment, but the Sheriff’s Office budget will require a general fund expenditure of $694,964.
Fire Chief Randal Crider says the department’s Fire Fund will use leftover personnel services funds for this one-time benefit.
“Our desire is that this is one of many steps toward recruiting and retaining firefighters and police officers,” Crider said.
This agenda item is separate from other actions the Board is contemplating to address pay issues with not only law enforcement, but with much of the county’s staff. Chairman Mike Boyce has proposed a 3% merit-based raise for county employees in his FY20 budget, including those in law enforcement. In addition, commissioners are still considering additional options and/or benefits for certified Police, Firefighters, and Deputies above and beyond the proposed raise.
“The police department is proud of its employees and the hard work they are doing every day, for the citizens of this County,” said interim Police Chief Tim Cox. “This one-time bonus is a small token of our appreciation and one aspect of a much broader, long term plan being developed, by the Commissioner’s and Public Safety, to address pay and benefit concerns. We anticipate more details of those plans to be forthcoming.”
Ross Cavitt | Cobb County Communications | [email protected]