Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mayor Burchett authorizes new raises

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has authorized new pay raises for almost half the employees under the executive branch purview, with much of the increases set aside for workers who make $30,000 or less annually.

But, three top ranking officials, including the administration’s chief of staff, also will get significant bumps that combine for $29,400 in raises.

The adjustments, which took effect July 1, are in addition to the 2 percent raises for general county employees and those who work in the Sheriff’s Office that Burchett and the Knox County Commission publicly discussed and approved during budget talks this past spring. 

The commission will still have to sign off on the new adjustments when the administration brings the board a set of proposals on how it wants to use expected surplus money the county will receive in late August. If the board declines, the employees will still get the raises because officials have built into the budget “enough negative allocations,” meaning money set aside for positions currently vacant that could cover the costs, said county Finance Director Chris Caldwell.

The raises, including benefits, will cost the county about $1.1 million with the bulk of the costs coming this year and the rest set for next July. Officials say overall increased revenues, like an uptick in tax collections, will cover the additional recurring expense.

On average, the positions received a 5 percent bump in addition to the 2 percent previously approved in the current fiscal year’s budget, which took effect July 1.

Of the 400 jobs that received adjustments, almost 55 percent earned $30,000 or less and just over 75 percent made $40,000 or less.

However, seven employees who make more than $70,000 annually also will benefit. And three of them – Chief of Staff Dean Rice, Finance Director Caldwell, and Purchasing Director Hugh Holt – earn more than $100,000.

You can read the full story, with more details, right smack here.

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