Christmas came early for full-time Gwinnett County employees on Tuesday.
County commissioners unanimously approved raises for employees, with the new salaries taking effect immediately. Many employees will see their salaries increase by 4%, but public safety personnel are getting an 8% raise.
The raises are expected to have a $5.8 million impact to the county’s budget.
“We’re a growing county and we want to continue to be the best and represent that standard, that gold standard, of delivering high quality services and we need a workforce to do just that,” Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson said.
The raises affect much of the county’s workforce, with the exception of part-time employees who are not eligible to get a pay increase.
The public safety personnel who are getting the larger raises include police officers, firefighters and paramedics, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers and E911 employees.
“In keeping with the Gwinnett Standard, employees have consistently stayed ahead of the curve with excellent performance on the job,” County Administrator Glenn Stephens said in a statement. “This increase solidifies our commitment to showing them how much we value their contributions.”
The raises were presented to commissioners as a way to keep the salaries offered by Gwinnett County competitive with neighboring government agencies as well as the private sector.
“We have to be able to stay competitive in a market where we are competing with the private sector and so adjusting the pay rates (not only shows) our appreciation for our current workforce, but (enables the county to continue) to recruit and retain the workforce that we have and possibly continue to grow and expand,” Hendrickson said.
The chairwoman said the county was able to afford the raises since revenues were higher than expected and the pandemic caused some expenses to be lower than anticipated as some offices had to close.
“Our funding is coming from our general fund,” Hendrickson said. “We looked at where we are in our budget process and saw that there was a need and a way to fund the positions that we’re requesting and increasing that pay rate, and we’re in a good position financially to be able to provide those increases.”