Local Politics

Some question bonus plan for Durham County workers

Posted November 2, 2010

— The Durham County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to spend almost $2 million on bonuses to county workers, a move that some people say isn't the best use of money during a slow economy.

The $1,000 bonuses will be included in the Dec. 10 paycheck, and employees would net $554 after federal and state taxes and state retirement system contributions are deducted, county officials said.

"It was very important that we really be able to say thank you to them in a tangible way," Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Page said.

Tight budgets forced the county to stop giving performance-based raises to employees in June 2008.

Commissioners Brenda Howerton and Joe Bowser joined Page in voting for the bonuses. Commissioners Ellen Reckhow and Becky Heron voted against the move.

"I was not a happy camper," Heron said.

About 1,780 county employees are eligible for the bonus, and part-time workers would get a smaller check based on their weekly hours. To qualify, they must not have any pending disciplinary infractions and they must have started work for the county before the end of June.

Money in hands Some question bonus plan for Durham County workers

Heron said she believes the county workers deserve the extra money, but she said it could be put to a better use.

"If our reserves are really, really good, let's reduce the tax rate because, you know, we raised taxes on our citizens," she said.

Page said the county must continue to be fiscally responsible. "But you have to reward your employees for good service," he added.

Heron also said it's unfair to award bonuses to animal control employees but not workers at the county animal shelter, who are employees of the Animal Protection Society.

"They didn't get a raise last year either," she said. "They deserve to be recognized."

Durham County taxpayers had mixed reactions to the bonus plan.

"If the money is there, they should get it," Donald Burdick said.

"If it's something that they've really earned, I'm all for it, but if not, put that money elsewhere," Shiva Craigwell said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • landoawd Nov 5, 2010

    Keep in mind that most local governments haven't seen a COLA increase in years. 556 net is barely compensation.

  • fuzzmom Nov 4, 2010

    "You have the produces (private sector), and you have the moochers (public sector). The moochers produce "NOTHING", they just continue to take." whatusay, and "freeloaders" yankee1

    Wow. I am shaking my head. I hope you'll remember the "freeloaders" and "moochers" the next time the Sheriff's Dept. has to come to your rescue, the next time you dial 911, the next time someone needs to investigate the rape of a 4 week old infant. I could go on. BTW I don't work the county, but I know stupidity when I read it. Those "moochers" and "freeloaders" produce something alright. It's called public order and safety. Not everything in economics can be quantified by a dollar sign. The biggest and brightest in the so-called private sector understand that. Ask SAS, Disney, Bill Gates, Oprah. You can bet they equate non-quantifiable assets into their botton line. I'd say public safety and order are "priceless"!

  • ncvaluer Nov 4, 2010

    @ Shaking My Head in Amusement

    Unless you are a new employee, you should have banked your accrued time a little more wisely. You're on probation because of the choices you made to use all your sick time - don't be a hater for your actions

  • cmckinney57 Nov 3, 2010

    The people running Govt are living in the old world. That old excuse of losing employees to other agcenies is A bunch of bull most cities have A hiring freeze on...I talked to people that can pay their taxes this year but cant next because of the lack of work. If these leaders keep giving there will be nothing left

  • tarheelfan41 Nov 3, 2010

    Lets see....What could be done with $2,000,000.000 instead of giving it away for showing up at your job. I don't know, maybe....Save some teaching jobs!!!!
    Some have said they have to give bonuses to retain good people. Guess what, with 10% unemployment there are LOTS of very good people who would take that job in a minute. Save that bonus money and when (and if) they quit, hire someone on unemployment and you will realize double savings. First the bonus money and second the money spent on unemployment checks.

  • Shaking My Head In Amusement Nov 3, 2010

    Oh but that no disciplinary actions clause is a double edged sword. I missed two days, certified by a doctor. Two days the Doctor said I should not be at work. Two days that I didn't have enough Sick Time Hours banked to cover those 16hrs. Therefore, I got a written disciplianry write up. Putting me into an 18 month disciplinary probationary period which now means I wiill not qualify for that bounus pay. They find one way to screw you or the other. Try to make it seem like a nice gesture but it comes with it's nice big screw you over tag, too. I won't see a big of it. When I really could use it right aobut now.

  • whatusay Nov 3, 2010

    The people of Durham County should vote for/against a bonus for public employees. After all, it's taxes being given away. If the county has excess funds to give bonuses they are over-taxing citizens.

  • x Nov 3, 2010

    Man, I'm glad I don't live there. Taxing liberals have turned Durham into a haven for government jobs. I can't believe in this economy politicians still give away money. And the Durham voters have not figured out that it comes from their pockets.

  • dogbiscuit Nov 3, 2010

    "If you don't think you get paid enough, go find another job."dlb800 - that's exactly what's happening! The Sheriff's office is losing deputies at an alarming rate for higher paying jobs in surrounding counties with alot less crime!! It needs to stop! Heron and Reckhow will see how serious this issue is next election day!!!

  • North Johnston Resident Nov 3, 2010

    I love it when there is discontent among the board members. I'm sure some of them would rather see those who stay home and mooch off the working class receive another handout. What they don't realize is that they are also the beneficiary of this bonus as well. Go buy your grandkids something for Christmas they may not have otherwise gotten and quit complaining. Or, resign and quit complaining.