SILER CITY — The town’s board of commissioners has voted to accept a recently completed compensation study which suggested the town needs to increase the wages of most of its employees.
Town Manager Hank Raper and Human Resources Director Nancy Darden examined what surrounding municipalities were paying their staff after a previous study revealed Siler City staff felt they were underpaid in comparison to surrounding areas.
The results of the study revealed that in comparison to other municipalities, Siler City’s staff is underpaid.
At the board’s meeting last Tuesday, Raper said the starting pay for several positions in town makes Siler City less competitive than surrounding municipalities such as Pittsboro, Hillsborough and Apex.
“Compared to Apex and Pittsboro, you’re not competitive,” he said. “I’d say you’re still probably one step behind Pittsboro ... Some people apply for jobs for an increase in pay, maybe family coverage or health care, so that may affect whether we’re competitive on an individual basis.”
Commissioners wanted to ensure town employees felt satisfied with compensation levels, but some were concerned about the costs of increasing rates of pay.
“We’ve added four positions so far since the budget came out, and we know we’ve got all this other stuff going on,” Mayor Chip Price said. “We couldn’t buy things like vehicles because we didn’t have enough money, but yet, I’ll keep hearing that we have money, so I’m confused.”
Raper said what commissioners were deciding on was whether to approve the compensation study — which he emphasized was a response to what staff said was a top concern.
Commissioner Lewis Fadely, while concerned about future revenues not meeting levels that would allow Siler City to afford raises, said he wanted to the board to address gaps between what employees of the town earned compared to staff in similar positions in similar-sized muncipalities.
He cited a recent presentation at a previous board meeting which showed the results of a survey where town employees were asked what could be improved on, stating that compensation, benefits and morale were lacking among staff.
“If we do this, which I understand that we need to, and we can’t fund this because we realize don’t have the money, what’s that gonna do to morale?” he asked. “So I want to make sure we have enough (money) to address this issue.”
In other business, commissioners approved a request to reclassify the town’s financial analyst position to budget manager. No additional funds are needed to reclassify the position. (See story about the change in this week’s edition.)
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.