IW compensation study recommends $900K in raises

Published 4:30 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

A compensation study recommends Isle of Wight County give just over $900,000 in raises to stay competitive with surrounding localities.

Isle of Wight County contracted with Evergreen Solutions to evaluate the job titles and rates of pay for its 402 employees compared to 14 other Virginia localities. The resulting report concludes Isle of Wight’s employees, on average, earn 7.4% below the regional market minimums for similar positions, 9% below the market midpoints and 9.9% below the market maximums.

The localities surveyed ranged from localities with smaller governments and tax bases than Isle of Wight, such as the town of Smithfield, to Virginia Beach, the state’s most populous city.

Stasey Whichel, an Evergreen representative who briefed Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors April 21, said her company was recommending Isle of Wight create two pay plans, one for public safety employees and a general one for everyone else.

The general plan would have 30 pay grades with a roughly 5% difference in pay between each grade. The lowest pay grade would range from a minimum of just under $25,000 to a maximum of just over $40,000. The highest pay grade would set a minimum of just over $102,000 and a maximum of just over $167,000.

Employees in the lowest pay grade on the public safety plan would see salaries ranging from $30,000 to $49,500. Those in the highest pay grade would see a minimum of just over $88,000 and a maximum of just over $146,000.

Not every county employee would see a raise under the new plans — just those whose current salaries are deemed below market. According to Whichel, 141 general employees and another 102 public safety employees would see raises were the county to adopt the proposed pay plans.

Those eligible on the general pay plan would see an average raise of just over $3,000. Those eligible on the public safety pay plan would see an average raise of just over $4,500 — costing the county an extra $906,693 in total.

The Board of Supervisors already voted in February to give a 7% raise to sheriff’s deputies at the rank of captain and below for the months of March through June.

County Administrator Randy Keaton and Sheriff James Clarke Jr. had asked the board to act ahead of receiving the results of the compensation study. According to Clarke, a 2015 Evergreen study had recommended deputies receive a 3% raise every year.

“But six years later, we’re starting at $39,000 (for deputy recruits) … my people live, work, eat here in the Hampton Roads area, and we’re competing against the seven cities,” Clarke said.

“We’re seeing increasing issues in trying to meet salary demands of people who are applying, specifically the Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Services,” Keaton said, referring to the raise as a “down payment” on the salary boost that would come with the latest compensation study.

Smithfield also recently contracted with Evergreen for a compensation study, which indicated town employees earn roughly 8.5% below market minimums, 11.9% below market midpoints and 14.1% below market maximums.