Decisions on Warner Robins employees’ pay study appeals expected soon

WARNER ROBINS -- Decisions are expected next week on whether 26 city employees who appealed an independent pay study this year deserve higher salaries, according to Human Resources Director Bryan Fobbus.

The employees filed appeals to pay grades and salaries City Council set in April based on a study from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, most arguing the study did not properly evaluate their duties.

City Council solicited the study in an effort to balance salaries and eliminate discrepancies among the city’s employees. The study set new salaries and pay grades for each city position based on a review of the position and its equivalent in other similar cities statewide.

“The city needed the framework for pay and classification, and they needed written guidelines as well,” Fobbus said.

Employees had three months to appeal the findings. Of the 506 city employees, less than 1 percent did so.

The appeals -- filed between March and July -- were sent to the Carl Vinson Institute. Fobbus said the analysts will review each and say next week whether the city should accept, modify or deny the salary as the employee suggested.

Then, “the university will come back and instruct human resources on how it was done so that in the future ... we’ll be able to go back and do those evaluations” internally, Fobbus said.

James Dodson, the recreation department director, was the only department head to appeal his salary (currently $81,767). He, like all other department heads, was not given a base salary raise in the study. All employees received a cost of living adjustment.

Fire Chief Robert Singletary did not appeal the pay study findings but requested a raise in the fiscal 2013 budget, which would have added $10,765 in salary and benefits. The line item was eliminated before council approved the budget in June.

Dodson met with council members and Fobbus in a closed session regarding personnel matters after Monday’s council meeting.

Fobbus declined to say whether Dodson’s appeal was the subject of that closed session. State law allows discussion of certain personnel matters to be closed to the public. However, the vote on any such matter must be taken in the open.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.