By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- There was some dispute about merit pay for town employees during Tuesday night's Town Council work session.
The meeting was intended to present the tentative budget and projected revenue for fiscal year 2013, and gather council's input.
Among the budget "variables" that Town Manager Judson Rex mentioned in his presentation were a few options for how to handle employee pay.
The first option was to not change the pay at all, and the second was to give raises based on performance, or merit pay.
During the discussion, a third option, in the form of implementing a bonus approach, was brought up.
Councilman Scott Terndrup said that he is wary of the idea of merit pay for employees.
"I'm not sure we have enough employees to successfully implement something like this," he said. "It potentially causes more harm than good."
Councilman Richard Redmon voiced a differing opinion.
"People need to grow up," he said. "If they are not doing as good a job as the person beside them, the person beside them should get better pay."
He also cited merit pay as a good way to retain quality employees.
Councilman Rich Orndorff Jr. said that this is a particularly hard issue for him to tackle because he is split between wanting to give deserved compensation to town employees and wanting to be fair to town residents.
"It hurts me to the core to have to tell our employees, 'I can't give you a pay raise,'" he said. "But it hurts me to the core even more to say [to residents] 'We are going to increase water and sewer [bills] but we are going to give pay increases.'"
He also said that he would like to know what the percentage increase would be before making a decision.
Councilwoman Sarah Mauck said that given the gravity of the issue, she thought the presentation should move on, and the topic be brought back at another date.
"I need more time on the whole issue," she said.