Taxpayer Bills Go Up When County Employees Leave for Higher Paying Jobs in Other Counties

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County officials say more than 400 county employees have left for greener pastures in the last six years, costing taxpayers nearly $1.5 million to hire and train their replacements. That is a turnover ratio of about 100 percent. Thursday county commissioners will vote on a new employee compensation plan aimed at increasing employee retention and saving taxpayers dollars.

Chip King of The Archer Company, a nationally-recognized consulting firm, recently completed a classification and compensation study, comparing Dawson County to Forsyth, Hall, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Pickens counties and the cities of Gainesville, Canton and Cumming. King said the county’s 100 percent turnover rate is “unheard of.”

He recommended the plan to provide more equitable pay for county employees and make the county more competitive in the marketplace.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Billy Thurmond said the board will consider several options.

It could give a 2 percent, across-the-board pay raise to all employees, bring everyone up to the average minimum, bring everyone up to time in service and class or adopt all or any part of the plan.

He estimated it would cost about $950,000 to implement the plan in its entirety.

“The plan would bring stability to the workforce, increase productivity and be more cost-efficient for taxpayers,” Thurmond said.

Over the last six years, the county has lost approximately 80 Sheriff’s Office employees. The cost to retrain their replacements was $640,000. Thurmond said the Fire Department lost 40 employees and training their replacements cost about $3,500 to $5,000 each

“When an employee leaves the county, you not only lose their productivity but you have to have an experienced employee train them so the experienced employee is only able to do half the job he was hired to do,” Thurmond said.

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