Guilford County Commissioners Mistakenly Give Equity Raises Without Public Input

11:22 PM, Dec 13, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • Courtesy: Getty Images

Greensboro, NC-- It's your money. And there are laws in place to make sure politicians are accountable for how they spend it.

But Guilford County Commissioners broke the law recently when they handed out a handful of pay raises.

In October, 15 county department heads got raises, thanks to a decision commissioners made behind closed doors.

And on Thursday night, the new board of commissioners had some cleaning up to do.

In 2009, Guilford County started taking a closer look at whether county employees are paid equally considering their experience and job responsibilities.

The law requires pay equity to protect women, minorities and senior citizens, to ensure they're making just as much money as their counterparts.

Guilford County had only reviewed 407 of its 2,400. But the previous board of commissioners wanted to make department heads a priority.

In October, in a closed door meeting, the last meeting of the previous board of commissioners, they agreed to give the go ahead to give equity adjustments to 15 department heads.

The problem: They didn't talk about it in public and they didn't even vote.

"We didn't know that at the time that we had to vote on that. Even our attorney has said, he made a mistake on that. We all make mistakes," said Linda Shaw, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners are required by law to vote on any raises given to five of those 15 department heads.  Those included the county attorney, clerk to the board, finance director, register of deeds and county sheriff. 

At the first meeting of the new board of commissioners Thursday night, they were charged with hashing it all out.

The commissioners voted seven to two, in view of the public, to reaffirm the raises.

"I don't think now, looking back, that it was the right thing to do. Is it the right thing to take this equity adjustment away from the employees now? After they've already gotten part of it...the first part in a paycheck? No, I don't think that's fair either," said Shaw.

This doesn't mean taxpayers will be paying more money.

The county is using money you've already paid in taxes that has gone unused because some positions are not filled.

The newly elected commissioners want a plan of action to study how all county employees are paid. They plan to tackle that at their retreat in January.

WFMY News 2

Most Watched Videos