By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer
Several Curry County employees will be smiling all the way to the bank next month because of pay raises.
The salary hikes will bring county salaries in line with others for similar positions across the state.
A Curry County salary survey found 33 employees’ salaries were at the bottom of the pay scale.
The pay raises vary from $138 to $4,000 yearly and take effect on county employees’ June 9 paychecks. The total cost of the raises is $44,488 a year.
Curry County employs 134 people.
The process served as a scientific method to ensure salaries were competitive in the New Mexico market, according to Curry County Manager Dick Smith.
Assistant County Manager Lance Pyle received a $4,000 pay raise as a result of the survey. His current yearly salary is $38,301. However, according to the survey findings, the substantial raise still leaves him below other assistant county managers, who make a minimum of $45,981. Along with his managerial duties, Pyle is also personnel director and indigent administrator.
“He (Pyle) wears many hats,” Smith said, “like most of our county employees do.”
Smith said he discussed the budget limitations with Pyle and a compromise was made regarding the monetary amount of the raise.
“I want to stay in this position (assistant county manager),” Pyle said, “so I agreed to take less money and I am happy with the decision.”
The raises will be financed through the general fund, Smith said.
Smith cited employee turnover and salary fairness and equity as reasons for performing the pay analysis.
“Turnover among employees is very expensive,” Smith said. “If the county is spending money to train employees, then we would like to see them stay.”
Pyle said employee turnover is most common among adult detention center officers, juvenile detention officers and county services clerks.
Adult detention center officers will see an increase in pay from $10.18 to $10.54 an hour. Juvenile detention officers’ hourly pay will increase from $8.36 to $9.09 while pay for county services clerks will increase from $7.75 to $8.65.
The survey was performed by Public Sector Personnel of Scottsdale, Ariz., and included salary comparisons to several New Mexico counties as well as local government entities, according to Pyle. The assistant manager said the Arizona consultant firm was chosen by a committee after extensive research. Affordability and previous experience were deciding factors in choosing Public Sector to perform the survey, Pyle said.
Clovis Community College and the city of Clovis also participated in the survey.