NCCo Council voted this past Tuesday to reclassify multiple Council Staff positions, which would effectively provide pay increases well better than that currently contemplated for most of the rest of the County’s employees. Today, County Executive Meyer vetoed this bill. Meyer’s veto letter is below:CE-letter-vetoing-20_011_28_Feb-2020
NCCo Council decided to unilaterally edit the job descriptions of these staff, decide what Pay Grades these edits would be entitled to and then pass their edits and reclassifications into law. Big Problem — this is not how job descriptions and pay grades get changed. These edits should be made with HR and subject to HR’s evaluation for grade changes. Mainly because HR has a process for doing this re-evaluation (so that it is fair to everyone in this pay grade, or with similar jobs) and they have access to the market research that might guide what these jobs are worth.
These jobs most likely are worth well more than they are paid — as are most of the jobs of the folks doing the daily heavy lifting in Government jobs. And I have no objection to anyone playing hardball to get a raise. This effort by County Council is less about fair pay than it is about giving the County Exec the finger. While he is engaged with tough negotiations with County Police, other unions and staff over increases that might be in the 1-2% range — this unilateral pay grade changes just for Council staff can mean a 10% or more raise for most of the targeted staff. This hardly seems fair given that the rest of the County won’t get these same raises. And people in NCCo never want to pay more in taxes, so it seems odd to Council to go against the wishes of their constituents and increase their financial burden here by providing more generous raises to just Council staff.
Meyer made is case to Council to reconsider in the following letter:CE_Council-President_HartleyNagle_re_20-011
The revised job descriptions are below as attached to the legislation. Most of these have minor changes — the most serious one I saw was eliminating the need to use dictation equipment for the Admin Assistant. None of this looks like it requires an increase in pay grade level(s). But say it does — it seems likely that everyone with a grade increase gets put in the same quartile that they are in now, which could be a pretty big bump in pay. A pretty big bump no other County employee is getting, even the people currently in contract negotiations with the County.Ord-20-011-002
If NCCo Council had any cohones to go with effort to just pay their own staff, they would have proposed grade increases to most County employees and proposed the new taxes to pay for that. It’s a really bad look for Council to just give their own staff this preferential treatment at a time with the County Exec is literally at the table with multiple County employee stakeholders and telling them that giant raises (even if deserved) are impossible. We applaud Meyer for throwing out the Tom Gordon playbook of spend now and leave other people to make the books work. But County Councilpeople should be asked why their own staff deserve such large percentage raises (and the potential raises from a new pay grade), and they are completely disinterested in making sure that the rest of the County employees do not.