MCBOCC passes pay grade, job title changes and salary adjustments for county employees

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Posted May 17, 2022 | By James Blevins
james@ocalagazette.com

Carl Zalak III, the chair of the Marion County Commission, on March 21, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners (MCBOCC) voted unanimously to approve a series of pay grade changes, job title changes and salary adjustments for county employees during its regular meeting on May 3.

In 2021, according to county documents, the MCBOCC contracted with Evergreen Solutions, LLC, to conduct a “Classification and Compensation Study” for Marion County. The purpose of this study was to analyze the county’s classification and compensation system and make recommendations to improve its competitive position in the labor market.

The study involved analyzing the internal and external equity of the county’s compensation system and making recommendations in response to those findings.

Commission chair Carl Zalak III called the journey arriving at these adjustments a long one, with many “endless hours trying to put people in the right places.”

“We’ve had a consultant come on board to try to make sure we fit the right pay for the right people in the right positions and pay them for their work to the best of our ability,” said Zalak during the May 3 regular meeting, adding that the county commission has continued to put aside money to try and prepare for the rise in minimum wage, as well, scheduled to reach $15 an hour by 2026.

A workshop was held on April 29, 2022, where Evergreen consultants and county senior staff presented the findings of the study and made recommendations to the board.

The recommendations included new pay grades, job title changes and salary adjustments to current employees based on methodology using range penetration capped at the midpoint with a lower end adjustment as well as adjusting for the minimum wage requirements.

Evergreen will continue to work on a salary study for the rank and file unit of Marion County Fire Rescue, according to county documents, and those results will be presented to the board at a later date.

“We are continuing to try and make a large investment in our employees, to make sure they know, first of all, we care about them, and, second of all, we want them to stay. We want them to be in a competitive marketplace and pay them for all the services that they do for Marion County,” said Zalak.

The recommended changes would have a loaded cost of $5.9 million across all funds and a loaded cost of $3.11 million in the General Fund.

Now that it is approved, the salary adjustments to current employees will have an effective date of May 21, 2022, and all other changes to the county’s systems will be effective on or before July 31, 2022.

County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes informed the commissioners that he hoped the county would have all the changes in the system executed as quickly as possible, but didn’t want to raise the expectations of employees.

“We told you during the workshop that employees will see this adjustment in the first paycheck in June. After further conversation with staff and with clerk staff, we need more time,” said Bouyounes. “We are dealing with a lot of data with a lot of people from both sides, from the Clerk and the county side, to make sure we do that transition. So it most likely will be the second paycheck in June. But I need some leniency. Worst case, it will be the first paycheck in July.”

According to Stacie Causey, senior public relations specialist for Marion County, the county currently has more than 50 positions open as of May 11.

Of those more than 50 positions, Causey identified 10 “hard-to-fill” positions that the county is currently struggling to find employees:

  • Animal center veterinarian (Animal Services)
  • Utilities field technicians
  • Utilities lift station technicians
  • Inspector plans examiners (Building Safety)
  • Paramedics
  • Librarians
  • Maintenance technician operators, Rainbow Lakes Estates
  • Litter crew leader
  • Purchasing inventory assistant (Fleet Management)
  • Recreation leader, seasonal (Parks and Recreation)

For more specific information on the pay grade changes, job title changes and salary adjustments, visit www.marionfl.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5570172&GUID=CFB53EEC-C978-4353-94BC-6ACAA89C204F.