FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Commission is officially moving forward with a study to see how much they should get paid.
After months of debate ultimately ending in a tie vote, the board held off on a final decision on the study conducted by The Mercer Group until its newest member, Dennis Brown, was elected and took his seat Nov. 28 as District 2 commissioner.
“There is a lot of controversy,” Brown said. “The only way is to go ahead and do the study.”
This item will go on the board’s new business agenda at the Dec. 7 meeting.
The board voted for the almost $20,000 study to look into board compensation and workload analysis.
Currently, the commission chairman receives $38,611 base salary and $40,868 total with various supplements and a 2.5 percent increase for serving full term.
Board members receive $34,901 base salary and either $36,670 or $38,879 in total with the supplements and the same percentage increase.
State law authorizes a percent increase for each term completed of up to 7.5 percent in total.
In addition to their salary, the board members are eligible for the county’s 401K plan, healthcare and receiving a county cell phone and computer. The board uses their personal vehicles with no automobile use allowance.
In August, the board voted down a 25 percent pay raise that had been approved in July.
Then in September, commissioners revisited the topic and voted to proceed with the study. The study will look into whether it is necessary to adjust the salaries in comparison to other Georgia jurisdictions. Comparable counties may include Cherokee, Clayton, Douglas, Hall, Henry and Pauling Counties.
The responsibilities and workload portion will study job requirements, including the need to be available, additional time requirements as the population grows and to ensure that compensation is not a disincentive for qualified people to run for office.
The project team said they would like to conduct interviews with each commissioner to shed light on board workload and citizen expectations.
The study should take about three months. County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the study has to be done before election qualifying in 2018. If approved, the raise wouldn’t go into effect until January 1, 2019.