Thursday, February 10, 2011
Board approves direct deposit 3-2
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen, during its meeting last week, may have put to rest the question of direct deposit of payroll checks for those who want it.
After a reiteration of most of the points in past discussions, alderman Johnnie Ree Bagley motioned to offer direct deposit of payroll checks and alderman Harvey Payne seconded. The measure passed 3-2 with alderman Russell Johnson providing the third aye vote and aldermen Garrie Colhoun and Calvin James voting nay.
Colhoun and James seemed to side with city employees who want to continue to be paid weekly. The shift to direct deposit will mean that payroll will come every two weeks or monthly. Those who are used to being paid weekly will have to come up with means to manage their money on that schedule.
The measure is to take effect in two months – April, according to city clerk Belinda McDonald.
In addition to this hard-fought for measure by some board members, Johnson brought up the matter of pay equity in the city after the motion on direct deposit was taken.
He said he has been looking over the salaries of people working for different departments and “was shocked that some street workers are making more than policemen. And some department heads are not making similar salaries,” he said.
Seven people in the street department are making more than police officers, he said. One department head made $10,000 more than another, he said.
Johnson said he thinks the board should have more time to look at salaries rather than making rushed decisions when the budget is put together in the summer.
“I want to take time to look,” he said. “We spend less time each year in discussing salaries.”
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry disagreed, saying the board worked two months on the budget salaries and provided compensation figures and made recommendations which were not taken by the board.
“I just want to look at it,” Johnson said.
He said the board did look at comparative salaries for cities this size but sales tax receipts are larger for coastal cities upon which the salary comparisons were made.
“I don’t want people to think we haven’t explored this,” DeBerry said.
McDonald reminded the board and mayor that budget discussions begin in May.
“I was told we can look (at salaries) in January and February, so I am looking," Johnson said.
“Don’t say we didn’t give (the board) options to adjust salaries in the police department and specific departments and to salary adjustments comparable to the utility department workers,” DeBerry said. “But the board did not approve the recommendations.”
Johnson said his concern is having time to plan the budget.
DeBerry said the time element is not a concern.
“We have to listen to someone else,” he said. “The department heads made recommendations and presented them to the board and the board did not approve the recommendations. What else can we do? I am not going to let you sit up here and say we didn’t have time.”
“All I ask is for us to look at our figures far enough ahead to make decisions,” Johnson said.
A street department employee asked to address the aldermen. He said the direct deposit vote will cause weekly paid employees who do not want direct deposit to have to go on a biweekly pay schedule. He argued that not all employees had an opportunity to make their wishes known for various reasons.
“The majority don’t want it,” he said.
But other department heads who had not turned in the wishes of their employees – the fire and police departments – indicated their employees mostly favored the option for direct deposit.
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