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Clemons: More than Newton examining employee pay
David Clemons

County employees got a cost-of-living raise earlier this year and could be in line for another one.

The Board of Commissioners voted earlier this month to fund an employee classification and compensation study. The Archer Co. will look at what Newton County’s government pays employees, and what nearby governments pay their workers too.

The Rock Hill, South Carolina-based human resources management consulting group will look into how Newton County classifies its employees and pays them.

The county hasn’t done such a study in about a decade — since before the Great Recession tightened budgets.

Classification of employees is probably one of the least sexy things the Board of Commissioners can do. Sure, if you’re an employee, this would be of utmost importance, but it’s doubtful this will register with most people.

The remainder of the project is a whole other ballgame.

The Archer Co. will “assess the market competitiveness of the county’s salaries, benefits and pay practices to align the new pay plan with the competitive market,” according to Darryl Welch’s story.

What’s interesting to me is Newton is not alone in these types of studies.

Our neighbors up in Walton County will be doing the same thing this fall, allowing their employees to supplement a $3,000-a-year raise given in the spring to sworn deputies and jailers, and a 5-percent cost-of-living raise at the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

Newton County’s finances have been a little direr over the years, which makes the raise all the more sweet.

The cost-of-living raise given to most employees — all but sworn deputies and firefighters — amounts to 3 percent they got July 1 and another 2 percent that goes into effect New Year’s Day.

In the end, county employees across the region stand to see a bit more in their paychecks by the time a year’s gone by.

Best of Newton

Check out Page 7A today for your chance to vote in the annual Best of Newton competition.

We started the ballot last week, and will run it a few more times before it’s time to count.

This year, the competition is a little different. Instead of having a round of nominations, followed by a final round of voting, this time we’re doing this all at once. So, every vote counts now.

Simply list your choice as the best Newton County business, civic organization or person in each of the 100-plus categories.

Vote as many times as you like, and each ballot submitted makes you eligible for a drawing for a $100 grand prize, or a $50 second prize. (Details are printed with the ballot on 7A.)

This year, we’ll have some new ways to recognize winners, so they can tell the community they’re the very Best of Newton County.

This isn’t going to be an award shared with some other community. This is the big one. Win this and people know it was determined by your hometown. So get voting today!

Taste of Newton

Kudos to Ralph Staffins and the rest of the team at the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce for a fantastic Taste of Newton event on Thursday night.

Porterdale was without a doubt the place to be. Hundreds packed into the Porter Memorial Gym for the seventh-annual event. I considered myself fortunate even to find a place to park on the premises.

Participants included Abiding Grace, Amici, Farmers Insurance, the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center, Precision Locksmith, The Oaks Golf Course, Irish Bred Pub, Berry’s Tree Farm, United Bank, Jessicakes Bakery & Deli, Bradley’s Bar-B-Q, Your Pie, Johnny’s New York Style Pizza, Newton Career Academy, Chef Jacqueline, Walden’s Restaurant, Oxford College of Emory University, Alcovy Fitness, Donut King, Piedmont Newton Hospital, Ribbity Ribbitz, Right at Home, Gent’s Grooming Lounge, Benton House of Covington, Town Square Olive Oil, JACO Contracting, Bizzy Bee Exterminators, the Y, Jimmy John’s, Bread and Butter Bakery, Mystic Grill, the Newton County Library, Carmichael’s, Harrison Family Farm, Nitro 2 Go Beverages, Covington Family Chiropractic, CrossFit Unyielding and Angela Campbell ARC Homes Realty Group.

I won’t name names for fear of leaving out a good vendor, but I had some quite-tasty fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, followed by pound cake, and took home some treats for later. There are also some new places on the must-try list for me and the lovely Carla.

I’m sure the 2018 Taste of Newton is the last thing anybody at the chamber wants to think about today, but I can’t wait to see how the chamber staff tops itself for the eighth-annual event.

David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. His email address is Twitter: @scoopclemons.