The board of commissioners this week voted unanimously to pay $326,420 for a study of the pay and responsibilities of county employees by an outside consultant to determine if their compensation is competitive with other governments in the area.
Chairman Tim Lee already has in mind the outcome. He said the study might find that adjustments of up to $2 million in increased pay will have to be made, but he’s willing to bite the bullet and raise salaries, as the MDJ’s Jon Gillooly reported.
Lee said, “I’m prepared to move forward with the recommendation.” It sounds like a foregone conclusion, and the actual purpose of the study is to show how much the raises should be. And the county has to pay some consultant $326,420 to do what management is supposed to do? And the consultant is going to take a whole year to do the study?
You might expect the county’s human resources department to handle this kind of thing. But the HR director, Tony Hagler, says he does not have the staff to do the job. OK. Then the county can hire a few temporary workers to do the job for far less than three-quarters of a million dollars and in considerably less time than a year, maybe even before the elections in November.
But let’s move on to the consultant chosen for this mammoth undertaking, the Archer Company of Rock Hill, S.C., which has been providing “human resource management services and systems” since 1975, according to its website. The company has done business with a ton of counties, cities, school districts and other clients around the country, including more than two dozen in Georgia.
Among the Georgia clients listed are the Marietta Housing Authority, about a half-dozen cities, including Smyrna, Roswell and Alpharetta, and nearly 20 counties including DeKalb, Forsyth, Athens-Clarke, Clayton and a bunch of small counties.
There are also three non-existent Georgia counties on the Archer client list: Anson County, GA, Faquier County, GA, and Harrison County, GA. Coincidentally, there is a Georgia town named Harrison over in Washington County, but with its population of 489, Harrison wouldn’t be paying Archer Company for a salary study.
Thinking maybe the GA. behind the non-existent Georgia counties was a typo and should have been CA., I checked the list for California, but it has no such counties. They are non-existent in Georgia and California. What does that say about the Archer Company and its human resources management expertise?
It is a metaphor for the basically non-existent need for the hugely expensive salary study the Cobb commissioners have approved, to be paid for by county taxpayers. There are other, less costly ways to do this. The commission should pull the plug on this waste of taxpayer money.