Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart and Macon Mayor Robert Reichert are expected to focus a Thursday news conference on the fate of employees being moved from the city to the county.
The news conference is called to discuss the implementation of a service delivery strategy agreement, which moves 142 positions and five departments to the county.
Keith Moffett, Macon’s internal affairs director, told City Council members Wednesday that the top officials would focus on the employees. The complex process includes trying to figure out how, or whether, the county will begin vesting former city employees in its pension fund.
County commissioners have discussed hiring Macon’s employees as new county employees, giving them credit for experience but not automatically starting them in the county’s pension fund. New county employees don’t get vested in the pension fund until their 10th year, while city employees start in the fifth year.
Macon spokesman Chris Floore said he didn’t expect major announcements from Thursday’s event. Floore said the purpose of the news conference is to update people on efforts “to make sure we’re taking care of all the details, which includes taking care of the employees.”
An actuary is studying scenarios for the pension plans. One early estimate of the cost of those employees was about $5 million a year for salary and benefits. Officials are also studying exactly how those employees will fit into the county’s new pay scale. County pay has generally been lower than city pay, but the new county pay plan, at an annual cost of $938,000, is expected to boost salaries, particularly among the lowest-paid employees. Projections call for some 729 existing county employees to get salary and benefit increases averaging $1,287 a year.
Floore said officials are still working on other issues involved in the transition, such as making sure that city department computers can interface with county servers.
The news conference begins at 2 p.m. in the commissioners’ board room in the Bibb County Courthouse.
Writer Jim Gaines contributed to this report.