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Local Government Employees Cash In On Pay-raise Trend

By Staff Reports, posted Apr 27, 2022
The town of Carolina Beach is one of the latest local governments to give its employees a pay increase. 

Some other examples of pay raises have come in recent weeks from the city of Wilmington, New Hanover County, Brunswick County and Wrightsville Beach.

During Carolina Beach Town Council budget discussions Tuesday, officials brought up the topic of paying competitive wages as a concern, according to a news release.

“Like other government agencies around the state, Carolina Beach recognizes that in order to attract and retain a quality workforce, focus must be given to the current economic climate. To combat record inflation and bring pay scales up to market average, Town Council voted unanimously to approve a one-time market rate salary adjustment for all employees,” the release stated. 

Effective June 1, employees in some of the town's lower pay grades will receive a 10% pay increase, while those in pay grades 18-26 will receive a 9% increase. Employees in pay grade 27 and above will receive an 8% increase effective July 1, according to the release. 

In early April, the Wilmington City Council approved allocating $1.3 million that will help fund pay increases, including up to 15% for public safety employees and up to 10% for hourly workers. 

A recent city compensation study “found that city salaries had fallen behind the market, which contributed to higher employee turnover and vacancy rates," according to a release.

The release also stated, "Bringing city salaries in line with market wages aims to help the city fill 129 current vacancies amidst a highly competitive labor market and supports the city’s goal to deliver high-quality essential services to residents."

New Hanover County announced April 18 that its frontline first responders in 911 communications, fire rescue and the sheriff’s office would receive a pay increase.

According to a news release, included in the updated pay plan is a salary increase of 12.2% for employees in the sheriff’s office and 911 communications and an increase in pay for fire rescue employees from 17.82% to 29.89% depending on the position.

“These increases are based on an internal analysis and are directly in line with what the market currently demands, coupled with increased inflation, and the need to remain competitive in our starting pay and salary ranges,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet in the release. “We are also in the midst of preparing for a pay and classification study that the board approved as part of this year’s budget, which will help inform any additional pay scale changes needed in Fiscal Year 2024.”

In addition to this pay plan change, a market increase is being proposed for employees in other county departments as part of the recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023, according to the release. An increase to the county’s current minimum wage of $15.30 per hour to $16.35 per hour and an increase of 6.86% to the overall pay plan is also being recommended.

The recommended budget is scheduled to be presented at the Board of Commissioners’ meeting at 9 a.m. May 16, with a public hearing held at 4 p.m. on June 6.

Also this month, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved increasing salaries and updating the county’s pay plan structure for all current and future employees, a news release stated.

Using new pay plans established for general and public safety roles, employees will receive either a new salary using the same pay range placement they had on the previous plan, or they will receive a 7% cost of living adjustment to their original salary—whichever is greater, according to the release.

“At the end of the day, this is about making sure our county has the best team of people possible,” said Randy Thompson, chairman of the board, in the release. “The state of the job market these past two years has made it difficult to fill positions across all sectors—but it’s been especially tough for local governments..”

In yet another local example, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen recently approved a 10% pay increase for full-time employees.
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