Fulton County Commissioners Approve Personnel “Living Wage” Plan | Print |
By a vote of 5 in favor and 2 against, Fulton County Commissioners approved a plan to phase in a $31,000 annual living wage for its employees over a five (5) year period.  When the adjustments would be completed, permanent full-time county employees would make at least $14.90 per hour.  
“Increasing the wages of employees will not only help them make ends meet but also boost morale,” said Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves. “Studies have found higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover and in the long run, that will save the County money in employment and training costs.”
The gradual salary adjustments would begin in Fiscal Year 2017.  In January 2016, the Board of Commissioners directed the county’s Personnel Department to undertake a feasibility study aimed at making salaries competitive with both neighboring jurisdictions and similar communities nationwide.
“I feel that the proposed course of action is a good one and strikes the right balance,” said Fulton County District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis.  “It will serve as not only a mechanism to help us improve employee morale and retain and recruit a strong workforce but also be phased in such a way that it works in concert with the pay and classification system which was adopted last year and doesn't cause unintended consequences to our workforce or service delivery.”
“The Board of Commissioners’ approval of our proposal to address this social concern will be impactful to more than 1/3 of the County’s workforce each year and will set the stage for the County to be a leader in public service -- thereby improving our ability to attract and retain employees at all levels within the organization,” said Fulton County Personnel Director Kenneth Hermon.
The Board of Commissioners undertook this plan to ensure its county employees receive wage and benefits packages taking into account the area-specific cost of living, as well as the basic expenses involved in supporting a family.  The Fulton County Personnel Department consulted data from jurisdictions nationwide at the State, City and County levels who have previously implemented living wage policies for their employees.  The ultimate goals of the plan include increased employee morale and improved recruitment at all pay grades.  Currently, the salaries of approximately 10 percent of the county workforce would be directly impacted by the proposal. Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Birmingham are among the communities that have already addressed the living wage with legislation aimed at raising the salaries of municipal workers.