2013 Cobb budget eyes 44 new jobs
by Geoff Folsom
August 29, 2012 12:48 AM | 5651 views | 29 29 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MARIETTA — While there will be no pay raises again, Cobb County Government has recommended adding 44 new full-time employees as part of its proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.

The new hires, some of which are already in place, are a mixture of positions funded in the 2011 SPLOST, recommendations of the Citizen Oversight Committee and filling positions that previously lacked funding. The 2013 budget shows Cobb with 4,432 employees, up from 4,388 in the current fiscal year budget.

Among the jobs are 19 new firefighter positions. As part of his 20-minute presentation during the Cobb Board of Commissioners Tuesday afternoon work session, County Finance Director Jim Pehrson said these new positions round out the 33 firefighters that are being added — the first 14 were put in the 2012 budget — over two years.

In addition, new public safety and emergency management directors, both under public safety, will be hired. Filling those positions were recommendations of the Citizen Oversight Committee, a 10-member panel that worked for a year to find efficiencies and cut costs in county government.



The public safety director is being budgeted for between $101,587 and $165,651, while the emergency management director will be paid between $56,596 and $90,563.

Also being added is a new Public Services Agency director, with a salary between $96,803 and $157,809.

A new culture and recreation administrative supervisor (starting salary $38,355) will also be added, as will a risk analyst ($44,366). In addition, two judicial administrative techs in Magistrate Court ($25,896 each) and a client support analyst ($53,851) will be added in the coming year, though each of those additions will be partially offset by the elimination of one part-time position.

The budget also includes six SPLOST-funded Department of Transportation positions that were added since the 2012 budget was approved, as well as two more DOT jobs that are expected to be approved in the coming year.

Rounding out the additions are several other jobs that were approved in the past year. Two are in Superior Court, a custodian and a judicial administrative supervisor. Also already approved were an automotive tech, a property management division manager (which was met with the elimination of two part time positions) and a SPLOST-funded maintenance tech in property management.

Commission Chairman Tim Lee said part of the increase in employees was due to a commitment to add resources to the Cobb Police Department, while the county had to make up for some employees that left in other departments.

“We unfunded everything as part of FY ’12,” Lee said. “We had to go back and add positions. A lot of them were though board actions through the year which were justified. A lot of them were SPLOST funded or grant funded.”

With a lagging economy, Cobb hasn’t given employee pay raises since 2008, Pehrson said.

This year, some county government officials said their employees were suffering from low morale, while other workers were leaving.

Southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott was disappointed that the budget once again calls for transferring 10 percent of Cobb Water System revenue to the county’s general fund, which the county has done since 1998. Pehrson said that will be $20.6 million in the 2013 budget, up from $19.6 million this year.

Ott, the only commissioner to vote against the 2012 budget in September of last year, said he was also concerned that the county is filling positions without a county-wide reorganization plan in place.

“Yes we need to take care of public safety, but the board has been asking (County Manager David Hankerson) for a reorganization plan for a couple years now, and I think we need to do that before we start filling positions,” he said.

Cobb’s general fund budget, its primary operations, will see its budget drop 0.04 percent from the current fiscal year. A budget of $321.8 million has been proposed, which is down slightly from the $321.9 million adopted for 2012.

After increasing the millage rate by 15.7 percent to help fund the budget last year, commissioners voted 3-2 last month to maintain the rate of 11.11 mills.

After four years of decline, the county is projecting Cobb’s tax digest, the combined value of all real and personal property and registered vehicles in the county, to remain flat at $29 billion in 2013.

Lee, in his second year putting together a county budget, worked with Hankerson, staff and elected officials.

“My direction to them was to keep it flat or reduce it, that’s how it worked,” Lee said.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Board of Commissioners second floor meeting room at 100 Cherokee St. A vote is expected Sept. 11. The public safety department will also see four new police officers added.

The 2012-13 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

 

Comments
(29)
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hose dragger
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August 30, 2012
Funny how there is no mention that most of the new hires for Fire are former Sheriff and Police officers. There is also no mention of how many Sheriff and Police officers have left the county to go to other law enforcement jobs in other counties with better benefits or chance of raises. They may be adding new positions but they have a lot of making up for lost employees first.
PD-1
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August 30, 2012
HEY TRY LIVING A WEEK WITHOUT COBB PD OR COBB FIRE....GOOD LUCK WITH THAT
Just Wait
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August 29, 2012
Public sector employees have become the new enemy for this country and this county. Most Cobb employees make below six figure salaries, many well below. They took these jobs knowing that the salaries would never reach private sector levels. But they took them with the knowledge of reasonable job security, benefits at a reasonable cost and a reasonably comfortable retirement. Now those in the private sector have lost their high paying jobs, have no benefits and have little or no retirement to look forward to. Of course, they feel they must blame someone for their conditions (other than themselves) so who better than the public sector employees. Looking back, who made the better decision? But go ahead and call them slugs, ingrates and last resort workers. When you call 911, the police and fire will still come, your sewer will still get cleaned and Cobb County will continue to run smoothly. All with no "thanks" from you.
Morris Devereaux
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September 05, 2012
All true, but how about comparing the pay of Cobb County employees to other local County employees? Compared with Fulton County, Cobb County employees are woefully underpaid.

The other thing that must be remembered, everyone wants good service from government. They want efficient, hard-working employees to serve them. Well you don't get that paying some of the lowest salaries in the metro area. The good employees leave because they can find better jobs. The really poor ones stay, the cycle continues until that's all you have, the poor ones that can't get hired anywhere else.
leChat
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August 29, 2012
People mention emergency service jobs as if they are the only "necessary" county positions. How would the county try to get by without the Purchasing Department, for example? ...or Park Maintenance, or the Tax Assessors, even (county would run great with no revenue, huh?). We all saw how people howled last go-around about cutbacks in just some of the quality of life services (library, senior services, etc.).

The same ignorant lot who attack the ones who provide our services are the same ones who are first to moan if they don't get taken care of in the manner they expect. they're the REAL freeloadering slugs.
AskMe
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August 30, 2012
@ leChat

Obviously many of the services the county provides are necessary but there are many that are not.

We need to get rid of those that go beyond the provision of basic services.

Surely you are not suggesting that each and every county job is necessary for the smooth efficient operation of the county. government.

Common Answer
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August 29, 2012
Have you ever thought that they might want people to quit. The private sector has clearly reduced staffing while the County has not.

If enough people quit or retire things will adjust. Just supply and demand.
CPLO
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August 29, 2012
All these comments are making me angry. I live in PA but am from Cobb County, GA... Just a note, I am not a public service employee and have never been. However, I must say I am ASHAMED of the County Officials not taking care of their employees. No raise in five years, ok, fine - THEN DON'T RAISE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR THE EMPLOYEES OR MAKE THEM PAY FOR PARKING. It's as simple as that! How about raise property taxes 1.00 per household and that could go a long way. And to reply to the "Thomas J. Palmer" post I have copied below - you are obviously a rich snob with no sense of reality - please remove 911 from your speed dial as the public service positions are obviously "not worth" more to you.... Some people actually could make more doing something else with their life but CHOOSE to serve the public at poverty level salary thank you very much!

Being a county "worker" is a job of last resort. I would keep that in mind. If you believe you are worth more, go for it in the private sector. Perhaps many of the high salaried county employees can resign, increase their bank account and get other perks by becoming employed by a private firm. This will make room for the new hires and maybe even a token raise, "free parking" for the remaining employees.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - 2013 Cobb budget eyes 44 new jobs
w00t
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August 29, 2012
It's amazing how much hate certain people have towards government workers, whether it be county, state, or federal. These workers have families to provide for as well, bills to pay, and lives to live. They provide money to the economy as well and help keep it humming along. If the country hadn't suffered as many public sector employee losses since 2007 the country would be a full 1% lower in the unemployment rate. That includes teachers, firefighters, and police officers too. Think about how much money that has taken out of the economy. How much demand for products and services from business that has removed? Because of this the climb out of the recession has been made that much harder.

Don't hate on government workers, most are hard working and well educated to have gotten the jobs they are in. They're quite possibly your neighbor as well hurting just as much as you are in this economy. They just want the same recognition that they too are struggling without being told they are some sort of "slug" or "drain" on their communities.

It's amazing the number of people that expect the government to run on fairy dust and unicorn tears (no money) and at the same time expect a 100% satisfaction level. You eventually get what you pay for.

to editor
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August 29, 2012
friendly web editor. I did put ass-ume. that is the only thing i put. that is not disengenous. you have people below calling county employees slugs etc. and my comment said ass-ume. meaning you know what they say about the word ass-ume. that is in no way, shape or form profanity or vulgar or hateful. what is hateful is allowing comments where other people are calling names then not allowing me to take up for myself!!
county slug
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August 29, 2012
seriously? someone can call county employess "slugs" and "ingrates" but you remove a post that says assume?!
Friendly Web Editor
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August 29, 2012
It is a bit disingenuous to say that the comment simply said "assume".

All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected.
you assume
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August 29, 2012
It was my post that was removed because I said some people assume that I think I am "owed" a raise. I merely stated I have never asked for a raise - I simply want to maintain what I have. I have stuck with Cobb county for 25 years through thick and thin without complaining I have not gotten a raise in five years which is fine with me. However, it is very worrisome to me as a single parent that my health insurance and my benefits go up every year. Employees also have to pay to park in buildings that are already paid for. Also, if you are tobacco user you have to pay the county $50 dollars a month. To the county, not to the insurance company. I "assume" all of these would irritate anyone not just "county slugs".
TIC
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August 29, 2012
And you don't think health insurance costs to private sector employees hasn't gone up also?

You don't think that private sector employees have to pay for parking?

You think that all private sector employees have received raises in the last several years?

Get real!!

In the private sector if the economy slows you get axed!!

So don't whine about not getting a raise.

Just be happy that Tim Lee and David Hankerson don't have the guts to make the necessary cuts.

This is the kind of entitlement attitude that people detest in public employees.
Watcher...
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August 29, 2012
“My direction to them was to keep it flat or reduce it, that’s how it worked,” Lee said.

Cobb leadership did exactly what Lee requested. They found a grand total of 4/100th of a percent in overall savings for FY 2013. Wow, what an achievement!

I guess that they consider themselves Cobb Budget "Dragon Slayers."
Old Man
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August 29, 2012
Funding a Department of Public Safety Director, Emergency Management Director, and Public Services Agency Director seems to be a severe case of over-kill. All of these jobs could come under one director and save alot of money. Also, notice how most of the newly funded positions create a top-heavy government. The only ones really necessary are fire employees. No wonder so many public safety personnel are leaving. When Brookhaven opens their police department at the end of the year, with take home cars for all employees and a great starting salary, watch the dust from employees of the PD leaving.

Does the new budget include pay raises for Hankerson and commissioners? Hope not - Hankerson needs to be gone if he can't do his job.
Thomas J. Palmer
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August 29, 2012
Being a county "worker" is a job of last resort. I would keep that in mind. If you believe you are worth more, go for it in the private sector. Perhaps many of the high salaried county employees can resign, increase their bank account and get other perks by becoming employed by a private firm. This will make room for the new hires and maybe even a token raise, "free parking" for the remaining employees.
Copperblue
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August 29, 2012
You consider Police and Fire a job of last resort?

Then don't call us Mr. Palmer
PublicService
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August 29, 2012
Sir,

Being a county worker may be a last resort for some... however for many it's a choice. I know of several officers and firefighters that have degrees, even graduate degrees... but they have a heart for public service. Do you look at the military and say they are all there as a last resort? Just because you don't feel that way, doesn't mean there aren't men and women out there that want to serve their country and community.

Watcher...
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August 29, 2012
Mr./Ms. Moderator,

A post, from a Cobb employee, was removed from these comments.

The post was not offensive. Please consider reinstating the post.

I believe it tells us a lot about some Cobb employees and their respect for Cobb Taxpayers!
Friendly Web Editor
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August 29, 2012
The comment violated the TOS. That is why it was removed.

Thanks,

dustoff
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August 29, 2012
Hankerson has been directed by the last two chairmen to work up a reorganization chart.

To date all he ever did was stick Storm Water and Solid Waste, both non revenue generating departments under the Water System so the Water System could fund them from their revenue.

Hankerson needs to retire and his staff eliminated.

Why is there a County Mnager when you have a full time Chairman???????
AskMe
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August 29, 2012
If Hankerson would move forward with a reorganization plan then maybe unnecessary jobs at the county could be identified and resources could be shifted to more critical positions in the public safety areas.

Hankerson needs to do his job!!!
Watcher...
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August 29, 2012
The first three "Posters" this morning are obviously Cobb County Employees that are very unhappy.

Perhaps they need to leave Public Service.
mk-cheap labor!!
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August 29, 2012
The way to cut the budget and save MILLIONS of taxpayers dollars, is simply replace ALL county employees w/ illegals!

They work harder , they're cheaper and they're available!!!

Replace Lee, all the commissioners, Hankerson, Faye, attorneys, firemen, police, all department heads- the whole lot!

The illegals charge 10 bucks an hour- across the board! And they have the drive and desire!!

Just think how much we could LOWER taxes!

A win-win for all!

Adios Lee and the gang!!

Welcome amigo's!!
Five YEARS!!!
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August 29, 2012
No raise in five years, I pay to park to work, I pay for my own office supplies, my insurance goes up 10% or more each year, my retirement goes up and we have the slogan expect the best. HA! When does it stop! Bob Ott is a clown, what a coward, never makes the hard decision he just votes no to everything basically knowing his vote does not count since others will make the decison for him. Maybe we should strike like he does at Delta. The Police and Sheriff's office are devestated with losses. You can not pay people to potentialy die for less and less wages each day. Its hard, gritty, nasty work and the one thing we want to do is help our families and to be treated fairly. This county is not doing that at ALL! Well Cobb County, you can expect the best, but you will get what you pay for in the end.
sickofittoo
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August 29, 2012
And our health ins will go up again as it has every year with no raise. It would be nice if they would at least let us quit paying to park.
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