Well, EOD was reviewing the current and prior year's county budget and something caught our eye. So, we called the county's human resource office and talked with the director.
Before we go any further, let us say, it is not our intent to cast a shadow on any county employee whatsoever. Who wouldn't take a $135,000 per year job, with all benefits, in Dare County if they could get it? It is EOD's aim to question the county commissioners' way of doing business, not the employee. Now, with that clear, here's what we were told.
The county established a new "county department "on July 1, 2008, called Program Manager. The department was given it's own General Fund account number and a manager was hired. According to the human resources department, the hiring pay for the manager was $135,000 and the pay grade is 88, which carries the pay range of $92,719 - $141,285. The manager had an assistant for part of the first year, but the person was later transferred to another department.
And this gets more interesting. EOD asked if there was a "job description" for this new position. The human resource director said, "he (meaning the new employee) was suppose to write one," and then advised EOD he would email it to us if he could find it. We haven't received it yet.
When asked if there were job descriptions for other county jobs, the director said, "yes."
When asked if the new manager's job was advertised, the answer was '"no, the commissioners did the hiring."
We need to point out here, this was not an in-house promotion, the individual hired came from outside county government.
The human resource director told us the commissioners had used funding from the "vacant" county engineer's job to help fund the new position. A review by EOD shows a $78,275 salary line item in the county budget for the last year (ending 6-30-08) of that position.
Well, it must be quite a leap from being a one-person "county engineer" to being a one-person "program manager", we mused.
After being told the salary was $135,000 per year, we noted this year's budget included an additional appropriation of 5% for that position, bringing the budget item for this year's salary to $141,750, which exceeds the highest salary level for this job.
EOD can only assume Dare has many county employees with more than 15 months on the job, who are not at the top of their payscale. But, as we say, "it's a good job, if you can get it."
(budget footnotes by EOD: Initially, the new manager was given an assistant, thus the higher salary appropriation for 2008-2009. The director no longer has that assistant. The $103,769 credit to the account is funds transferred from the county's Shoreline Commission account. That's another story which we will write later.)
All of which begs another question, which we put to Dare County Commissioner Chairman, Warren Judge, in writing. "Why is this extra money in the budget?" Merit pay, cola's, etc. have their own budget line items; and we understand salary adjustments are not being given this year, due to the economy.
We'll let you know when Judge gives us the answer.
Meanwhile, we continue to say, "It's a good job, if you can get it."