Mt. Pleasant leaders address concerns over wages for town employees

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MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) -Town of Mt. Pleasant officials are addressing concerns over wages for town employees, specifically first responders. Leaders say they’re working to ensure their people are being paid fairly.

This started with an email to News 2 from an anonymous source close to first responders in town. Then, the concerns started to gain traction on social media.

The email highlighted concerns over wages for firefighters and other first responders as well as addressing the retention rate in these jobs.

“The town continues to ignore our calls for fair and competitive compensation.”

The traction brought to light a wage and compensation study commissioned by the town that was completed in early 2020. The study uses data gathered by a third company hired to perform the research and compares those numbers to those of surrounding municipalities, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, etc.

“It’s essentially ensuring that everyone is at market rate,” explained Jake Rambo, a town councilman. “So, for some people that might be a smaller raise, and for some people it might be a larger raise.”

The results of the study, detailing the raises for specific positions, were set to be implemented last year but then the pandemic hit.

“And all of a sudden our main revenue sources were really up in the air,” said Rambo.

Now that the economy is bouncing back as pandemic restrictions have significantly dipped, some employees are wondering when they’ll see the money.

Mt. Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie says steps are still being taken to ensure fair wages including a recent 2% raise implemented across the board for all town employees with another 2% promised in the upcoming months.

“We thought it was clear that everyone knew that we would be taking another look especially with this report and especially with the 4% raises that everyone is supposed to be getting,” said Mayor Haynie.

He tells News 2 that in preparing the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the town decided to be conservative. This is because decisions on the budget were made when the pandemic was in a heightened stage of intensity and at the time, town leaders were not sure what to expect for the upcoming fiscal year.

The 4% raises, two 2% raises previously mentioned, are unrelated to the wage and compensation study.

Now, as calls for fair wages continue, the town, through the third party company, will be conducting an update to the study. That brings a possibility for other raises late this year.

“That company that we hired to do that is now redoing it and so that will be done by the end of September and it should come to council in October,” said Rambo.

News 2 has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the results of the 2020 wage and compensation study. We are awaiting the request to be fulfilled.

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