Public safety priority in compensation proposal

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County employees should expect a raise in 2008, which will cost taxpayers a total of $7.4 million.

In presenting the proposal to commissioners Tuesday, officials said they wanted to make sure the county is able to hire and retain the best employees.

"In order to do that we have to be competitive in our market," Human Resources Director Kenneth Poe said. "But anything we do has to be affordable."

In the areas of public safety, where recruitment of police officers and sheriff's deputies have been a priority for the past three years, Poe said he would like to continue with incentive programs including a $2,000 hiring bonus, extra pay paid on education and relocation assistance.

Poe proposed a 4 percent raise for anyone involved in the county's step payment system, which includes most public safety staffers.

For open-range employees, he proposed a 2 percent market adjustment to be made in July along with 2 percent pay-for-performance raises at the employee's anniversary date.

At the proposed level, salary increases cost about $3.9 million, with benefits and longevity pay increasing at about $1.7 million each.

The final compensation plan will be factored into the 2008 budget proposal, which will be released in early November. Commissioners will approve the budget in January.