Franklin County offices had a total payroll of nearly $ 396 million in 2020
Franklin County officials hope to finalize a contract soon for an updated study of county job classifications and wages with the goal of potentially setting comparable rates of pay for similar jobs in managed county offices and agencies. by different holders or boards of directors.
More than a dozen offices, including agencies under the administration of the Council of Commissioners, could be involved in the study of a payroll that reached nearly $ 396 million last year. Eleven employees received a total salary of over $ 200,000 last year.
The goal, said Robert Young, director of human resources for Franklin County, is to have parallel rates of pay for county positions requiring similar responsibilities.
“That’s the intention – a more unified compensation plan across the entire county spectrum,” he said.
Franklin County Administrator Kenneth Wilson said it could create “a level playing field for positions that, when you factor in knowledge, skills and abilities, people don’t feel the need. to make purchases in agency or office.
“It gives the manager and management of a particular office the ability to impact their work environment for employees and make it a place people want to be,” Wilson said. “They don’t lose someone just because there is another pay scale at another agency in the county that, in theory, pays you $ 1.50 more per hour to do nearly the same or the same job. same.”
The review was due to be completed last year, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has delayed hiring a consultant, he said.
“We always seek to keep our salaries competitive with the market – those with which we compete for employees in various sectors of the county’s economy,” Wilson said. “We also value pay equity, review positions and make sure people are paid fairly. “
Complete information on county employee salaries is published on the “Franklin County, OH Open Finance” website (https://franklincountyohio.payroll.socrata.com/), which tracks county spending.
The database includes commissioner agencies, other county-wide elected offices, court operations and other levy agencies, including county councils on alcohol, drugs and mental health and development advice.
However, it does not include other boards involving the County and City of Columbus, including the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, Wilson said.
Totals include base pay, overtime pay and other salaries, the latter covering bonuses and bonuses, cell phone and other allowances, as well as payments for time earned when employees leave their jobs. And these are gross numbers, that is, before taxes and other payroll deductions.
For 2021, since the start of the year, a total of $ 281.25 million in basic pay, overtime and other compensation has been paid to more than 8,400 employees.
For 2020 as a whole, that total was nearly $ 396 million for more than 15,000 people, including about 6,700 full-time employees. Payments for 2019 reached approximately $ 359 million and over for 11,365 employees, including 7,182 full-time.
11 employees exceeded $ 200,000 in 2020
Last year, 11 of the county’s 6,700 full-time employees received more than $ 200,000 in total wages. The 10 highest paid Franklin County employees for 2020 included in the Open Finance database and their salaries (rounded to the nearest dollar) were:
• Jed Morison, superintendent and CEO of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, $ 272,107.94.
• Dr. Kevin Jenkins, Deputy Chief Coroner of Franklin County, $ 268,309.
• Dr. John Daniels, Franklin County Assistant Coroner / Medical Examiner, $ 254,009.
• Dr. Andrew Sexton, Franklin County Assistant Coroner / Medical Examiner, $ 250,301.
• Dr. Maneesha Pandey, Franklin County Assistant Coroner / Medical Examiner, $ 246,374.
• Theodore Beidler, Project Manager, Franklin County Engineer’s Office, $ 224,025.
• Charles Spinning, Executive Director of Franklin County Children’s Services, $ 223,993.
• Kenneth Wilson, Franklin County Administrator, $ 221,026.
• Dorothy Yeager, Business Manager of the Board of Developmental Disabilities, $ 205,399.
• Adam Frumkin, chief information officer at the county data center, $ 203,118.
Four of the county’s top 10 salaries last year went to forensic scientists in the Franklin County Coroner’s Office. In 2018, Franklin County commissioners approved an increase in starting salaries for positions to $ 225,000 per year, from around $ 140,000 previously.
The total is always less than what pathologists can earn in the private sector.
“Right now, when you look at some of the recruitments and job postings for them, they can go well over $ 300,000,” said Dr. Anahi M. Ortiz, Franklin County Coroner.
Part of the problem is the continuing shortage of graduate students from forensic medicine schools. Ortiz said two forensic pathologists retired this year, leaving his office with four.
Two new pathologists are expected to join the staff in the coming months. In September, Franklin County commissioners signed a contract with a company to help recruit replacements. Ortiz said the hope is to have eight pathologists in place to try to help track the number of cases.
Almost half of last year’s total salary spending – $ 191 million and more – went to public safety and court offices. And of the $ 8.3 million paid for overtime, about $ 3.9 million went to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, up from about $ 3.5 million in 2019.
The latter is attributable, in part, to the coronavirus pandemic, said Maureen Kocot, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office is also understaffed at the moment, with 645 MPs under a budget that can accommodate over 700 people. Kocot said the office had just launched a hiring blitz, seeking to employ up to 108 additional MPs and some 20 civilians. staff members due to the increased staffing requirements with the new Franklin County Jail opening on Fisher Road West of Downtown slated for early next year.
Wilson said the salary totals are in line with those of other major counties across the country with comparable annual budgets.
“If you do a comparison, look at our positions relative to even counties, large counties with a population of one million or more – Fulton County, Georgia; Fairfax County, Virginia; the Mecklenburg / Charlotte County area (North Carolina) – you look at these places that have budgets of almost $ 2 billion, ”he said. “I have the impression that our salaries would be comparable. You will not find that our employees are paid above average.
County wages must also be competitive locally, with the state government, the city of Columbus, Ohio State University, and other public and nonprofit agencies vying for workers.
“The city of Columbus is tough competition,” Wilson said. “A lot of those classifications over there pay well… Some of our suburbs don’t have that many positions, top positions, but you can make a lot of money in some of these places. I don’t think we’re irrelevant at all. On the contrary, I think there is always a possibility to compensate at all levels of our organizations at a higher rate.
The latest classification and compensation study contracted by Franklin County Commissioners was completed in 2016, with a focus on living wage and merit pay issues. (In 2019, commissioners increased the minimum wage from about 1,300 county employees under their administration to $ 15 an hour, implementing one of the recommendations of a broader plan to tackle poverty in the community.)
A new pay study was slated for early 2020 when COVID-19 hit, with no guarantees of federal relief funding at the time and many questions about how the pandemic would affect the local economy.
“We didn’t know what kind of tax calamity the county might be facing,” Wilson said. “… It wouldn’t have been wise to do a classification and compensation study either, when you don’t think you have the intention of developing a plan to implement. The worst thing you can do is do a … study that you don’t intend to do. Think what it does for morale at work, if you are one of those people and you see the market has changed and you should be earning more per hour and those you work for say, no we don’t. can’t do that. “
Franklin County is now moving forward with the study, after a year and a half of changing employee expectations, increases in telecommuting and other issues that make it appropriate to review job classifications and scales salaries.
“We see, coming out of the pandemic, people envision a different kind of work climate, they have a new appreciation for work-life balance, I think,” Wilson said, later adding: “The value benefits no longer carry the weight they once carried. People are younger and healthier. They prefer to have the money in their salary, they prefer to have things different from what a traditional employee of it 25 years ago would like.
Young estimated that it would cost between $ 90,000 and $ 130,000 to hire a consultant to complete the study and come up with recommendations for changes.
“I think we would definitely have something at the start of the first quarter of 2022, and we’re talking about implementation at that point,” he said.