A Gwinnett County commissioner is calling on residents to attend a county budget public hearing next week and demand his colleagues raise the minimum wage paid to library workers to at least $15 per hour.

Commissioner Kirkland Carden issued that call for public backing of the higher pay on Thursday. The Board of Commissioners is set to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center to give residents a chance to weigh in on the proposed $2.06 billion 2022 county budget.

“Nearly 20% of Gwinnett County Public Library employees currently earn less than $15 an hour,” Carden said. “I want to make sure Gwinnett’s 2022 budget funds the library up to a level that ensures all GCPL employees will earn a living wage of at least $15 an hour.”

Carden’s proposal is to allocate $1 million in the county budget to cover the cost of raising the salaries for library workers. Commissioners approved a 4% pay increase for county employees in October, but Carden wants the budget to include money to let the Gwinnett County Public Library system raise salaries for its employees by 4% as well.

The library system receives 90% of its funding from the county’s budget, but the library system’s employees are not directly employed by Gwinnett County government they are therefore not eligible for the raises approved this fall.

“In October, I joined with my colleagues in approving a 4% pay raise for eligible Gwinnett County employees as it was clear to me at the time that current economic conditions coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic — including the cost of living in Gwinnett, rising inflation and labor market pressures — made this an important priority and was a positive step to take,” Carden said.

“Now I am requesting that enough funding be provided to the Gwinnett County Public Library system in the 2022 budget to provide their employees with a 4% pay increase.”

The proposed county budget already includes a 4% pay for performance salary increase for county employees on their work anniversaries. Commissioners are set to vote on adoption of the budget at their first meeting in January.

The Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center is located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.

Information about the county’s proposed budget can be found at bit.ly/3IeDIEW. County officials are accepting online feedback from residents in addition to comments made at the public hearing.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

(2) comments

JohnnyJ

Crime is rising. I just read on WSBTV that Gwinnett is about 240 officers short of a full force, but he is worried about librarian pay? The same article said Conyers Police start at 47k. I checked Gwinnett's website and its under 43k, but he is worried about librarian pay? How about we pay our police, sheriff's, and firefighters enough to actually live in Gwinnett. That should be priority #1. Libraries are not an essential government function or service. They should not be paid for by tax dollars (subsidized by people who don't go to them). The Library, including staff pay should funded from user fees exclusively.

MissDaisy

Is the County able to staff the libraries at he current rate of pay? If so, no need to raise the amount taxpayers will have to fund the additional pay.

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