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Merit pay option for employees causes dissension

By Kaitlin Mayhew -- kmayhew@nvdaily.com

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.


People need to grow up?? How about learn how to get rid of the bad employees and utilize those funds. This is an attempt to circumvent the process and give raises and say its for the better employees. Those "good" employees should understand that its tough in todays world and I personally do not want to have my taxes raised again without having good budgeting practices in place.

The Merit Increase method of giving raises only works when management views what the employee does. This would not work for Strasburg because the managers are not viewing what the employees do or say.

The office staff are unprofessional and rude when dealing with the citizens and the town road crews stand around more than work or miss repairing or emptying trash cans on King Street.

These are things that the citizens see and hear. The current staff needs more training in their jobs, defined performance objectives, and better management.

Currently with the state and performance of the town and the economy, the town should be not be considering raises for anyone.

If I was reviewing the the overall performance of the town and the town employees, they would get a standards not met performance appraisal with no merit increase.

No to merit pay.Raises are essential to retain better employees and morale.However, raises should not only depend on performance but equally on where the money will come from to pay for the raises. Since the raise would most likely come from the pocket of the taxpayer, who has less expendable income due to wage loss/reduction and higher expenses, absolutey not. I can understand town employees would not be happy to hear they will not get a raise. In this terrible economy to be making the same dough as last year or the year before for that matter is a good thing whether they realize it or not.

Increase water/sewer rates! My rate has increased 40% within the past 2-3 years...not an option.

Also Mr. Redmon, If two employees are working side by side, and one is outperforming the other, the underperformer needs to be replaced. WE are paying these salaries. The employees have already agreed to their hourly pay and know what is expected. If they can't fulfill their duties, they need to be gone. This will be tougher if there is a "buddy system" but still the right way to do business.

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