Bibb County commissioners agreed Tuesday to hire dozens of Macon employees, with an estimated personnel cost of $5 million.
But when those employees move to the county with their departments July 1, they’ll start as truly new employees with no county pensions and salaries that quite often will be lower. All employees will automatically be hired, but they’ll begin work with a six-month probation period.
In all, some 142 positions are being considered for the transition, including 90 current full-time employees.
Bibb County commissioners’ plans to adopt smaller departments through cuts were quashed Tuesday when consultant Laura Mathis and Chief Administrative Officer Steve Layson said there’s no way to fine-tune the operation of the departments before they get adopted. Layson originally hoped to run the departments with less staff at the beginning of the switch.
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Mathis, who works with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, said details of the transition will consume nearly all the time available before the July 1 transition.
“That’s more than can be done, and done well, in six months. It’s more likely for you to take over operations July 1 and then going forward making those programs to be the programs you want them to be,” Mathis said.
The city has already frozen vacant positions, leaving the county some flexibility in how it will adopt the five departments: recreation, inspection and fees, traffic engineering, engineering and animal control.
The department moves were mandated by a service delivery agreement that hinged on passage of a special purpose sales tax initiative, which voters approved in November.
Commissioners balked at implementing a pay plan until salary costs for the city employees can be calculated. At the levels of their city pay, with average Bibb County pension and health care costs, the tab for the employees would run $4,978,392.72, Mathis said.
For more on this story, read Wednesday’s Telegraph or return to Macon.com.