By STEVEN T. DENNIS
A consultant recommended to the Washington County Commissioners Thursday that they eliminate step increases and flat cost-of-living increases for the county's 575 full-time employees and institute a new pay system based in part on merit.
The new system would eliminate the entitlement mentality that infects step-based pay systems and would provide incentives for employees to improve their performances, consultant Charles F. Hendricks said.
"Steps are dead," said Human Resources Director Alan Davis.
"Underperformers who look at a step as an entitlement will hate this program," said County Administrator Rodney Shoop.
Under the plan, individual employees could receive anywhere from no increase to more than twice the average pay increase.
According to the study, once the County Commissioners decide on a percentage pay increase in a given year, the increase for each employee would depend on a formula that would involve a merit rating and the ratio of the employee's salary to the midpoint of salaries for the employee's grade level. The midpoint for each grade level is based on competitive market salaries from a survey of area governments and businesses, Hendricks said.