Tensions flared during Monday night’s County Commission meeting on August 4th after several county office heads including Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons and Circuit Court Clerk Rick Gann, questioned the reason for variations in county office employee wages.
Using the example that the three employees working in the Macon County Mayors Office are being paid more than the secretarial employees at both the Sheriffs Department and the Circuit Court Office, both Gammons and Gann voiced their concerns that their employees work “just as hard.”
Presenting his case to amend his budget proposal in order to level out the pay in his office with that of other offices, Gann then addressed Mayor Linville.
“I ask that my budget proposal be increased so that my people can make whatever yours are, and if that’s denied than so be it,” he said. “If you worked 20 years somewhere and someone new came in and made $5,000 more than you, would you think that was fair? I’m not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong . . . our office does a lot for this county.”
Gann presented salary figures of the three employees that work at the Macon County Mayors office, saying that all three employees made at least $3,500 more a year than any of his employees, some of which have held their positions at the circuit court office for at least 13 years.
The salary figures presented for the mayor’s office are as follows: Administrative Assistant - $29,651.92, Accountant Bookkeeper - $29,651.96, Payroll/Personel - $28,080
The salary figures for the Circuit Court Office are as follows: Circuit Deputy Clerk - $24,232, Chief Deputy - $25,272
Gammons, who agreed with Gann on the matter, also pointed out the fact that asking questions on behalf of their departments is part of their job.
“How are you going to clarify what secretary is more important than the other?” Gammons said to Linville. “That’s what we want to say here. I’m not saying it’s your fault because your ladies are making more. If they made $50,000 I’d be more than grateful for them. I have nothing against them making money. But who’s to say Gail in my office isn’t as worthy as someone in another officer? We’ve got to get a scale and get it on paper.”
Linville defended the salaries of his three employees.
“The rumor was that when I came into office, I cut my four girls back to three and took the excess money and spread it around my office,” Mayor Linville said about his employees. “That’s not true. That’s a lie . . . I can show you the figures. I don’t have anything against your girls making as much as they can possibly make but you’re using my office as a whipping block and I don’t appreciate that.”
Former Macon County Mayor Glen Harold Donoho also attended the meeting and addressed Mayor Linville.
“In 2006 I never had an employee making close to $29,651,” Donoho said. “You started a new employee out at $28,080 when there’s people who’ve been working for Macon County for 20 years and you have three girls making more than these 20-year employees . . . it’s ridiculous.”
A member of the crowd also spoke out, addressing Linville.
“My wife works in the Trustee’s office,” said one Macon County resident in the crowd. “She’s been there 22 years. You have a girl in your office that’s been there nine months making $4,000 a year more than my wife does. Is that fair?”
“I can justify everything I’ve done since I’ve been in office,” Linville told the crowd.
Gammons then reiterated the fact that he and Gann were not trying to blame anyone.
“Mr. Mayor no one is blaming you,” he said. “It’s just that we’ve been elected to run these offices and that’s what we’re trying to do, to stand up for our people. People are elected to stand up and ask questions about their offices and that’s all we’re trying to do.”
The commissioners made a motion to form a committee in the future that will focus on creating a county employee pay scale.
The question of whether or not Gann will be able to amend his budget proposal will be answered by the commissioners in two weeks. If denied, Gann has stated that he will “take further action.”