Henry Commission chairwoman hoping to revisit rejected employee raises

Henry Commission may revisit 10.5% across-the-board raise for county employees next month.

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Henry Commission may revisit 10.5% across-the-board raise for county employees next month.

The chairwoman of the Henry Commission is hoping to revive a proposed 10.5% raise for county employees recently voted down by her colleagues.

Chairwoman Carlotta Harrell said Wednesday that she plans to put the raises on the agenda for a February workshop or board meeting and asked her fellow commissioners to submit to County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews alternate plans they think the board should consider.

“I would like to request that we continue this dialogue and see if we can come to an agreement on increases for our employees,” she said at the county’s mid-month board meeting. “As we can agree retention of our employees is critical.”

The board in December rejected the raises, with some members saying the $6.6 million cost could hurt Henry financially if the economy sours. Others wanted a more merit-based increase instead of one that was given to everyone across the board.

Matthews said the raises were necessary to keep Henry competitive with other metro Atlanta cities and counties, who are paying more because of growing job vacancies. Henry had about 200 openings that could be filled if salaries were more competitive, Matthews told the board in December.