Cobb's Board okays emergency frontline staff incentive
Cobb’s Board of Commissioners approves incentives for “critical” field staff
Department leaders hope it will stop the departure of frontline workers who keep up county infrastructure
June 14, 2022 - Cobb’s Board of Commissioners approved two measures Tuesday designed to stem the outflow of critical county workers and allow for the use of outside firms to handle emergency maintenance calls.
The board approved a frontline retention incentive program that includes a one-time payment of $1,500 for those critical workers as defined by the American Rescue Plan Act. The retention incentive is available for frontline field staff members that began employment with Cobb County prior to April 1, 2022, and employees must stay with the County for 12 months after receipt of the retention incentive. In the event the employee does not stay the full 12 months, the employee shall be required to return the full amount of the incentive.
Cobb Department of Transportation Director Drew Raessler brought the agenda item before the board, saying many departments that provide critical support for the county’s infrastructure are suffering from high vacancy rates. DOT has 40% of their critical jobs unfilled, while the Water System, PARKS, Fleet, and Property Management have vacancy levels around 30%. Raessler told the board the incentive program was needed before a critical situation became an emergency.
The board also approved an agenda item to allow the DOT to contract with external firms to handle emergency maintenance and repair calls. These firms can be called upon to pick up calls when county crews are unable to respond.
County Manager Dr. Jackie McMorris told the board in a work session that departments across the county government are losing employees at a rapid rate. A prior study found most Cobb positions are paid at rates below that of similar government entities. The board plans to address a pay and class study this summer that would boost the minimum pay of county employees and bring the rank and file to pay levels above the market rate.
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