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GREENSBORO — A little more than half of Guilford County employees will see a pay increase under a plan approved Thursday.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners agreed to spend an extra $2.5 million per year on salaries as a first step toward what they hope to be a multi-part adjustment of the county’s salary structure. They had already set aside the money in their budget approved in June in anticipation of making such a move.

The county expects to pay higher salaries for 1,423 of its employees under the change, which takes effect this year. 

While some employees won’t be affected, none are expected to see a decrease in their pay from the measure. Among those who do see an increase, amounts will vary. Guilford County Schools employees are not "county employees" in this context. 

The county worked with Lockton Cos., a firm based out of Kansas City, to examine how pay for the various jobs at the county compares to pay for similar jobs in a 30-mile radius, or in some specific cases, with similar counties in the region.

Working with the consultants, the county came up with a plan officials hope will help make Guilford more competitive in attracting and retaining employees.

They especially look to increase pay in cases where employees make significantly less than the median pay for that job within the market they surveyed, out of concern about losing good staff or good prospects to competitors. Thus, targeted employee positions will see higher base pay under the change.

As part of this, specific firefighter, EMT, sheriff’s office, and detention services officer positions will see a new “step” system implemented. Under the step system, employees could look forward to moving up to a higher salary level at certain points during their time in a job if they “meet expectations” on their performance evaluations.

The county expects to conduct presentations within departments to help employees better understand the changes.

County Manager Marty Lawing and his staff proposed a multi-step plan of which the $2.5 million this first year would only be the beginning. They also look to add nearly $3.2 million more per year to the budget starting next fiscal year, plus another $3.5 million annually the next year, for a total of more than $9.2 million more per year.

Commissioners, however, voted Thursday just to approve the first step. They plan to consider the next phases one year at a time.

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Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.​

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