A vote to give county front line workers a hazardous pay bonus was tabled Wednesday during a virtual meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.
The measure will be taken up again by the BOC Monday, and it is expected to be put to a vote Tuesday.
Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones called the virtual meeting Wednesday to vote on giving frontline workers and first responders a $200 per pay period bonus for eight weeks.
All of the commissioners said they were in favor of the bonus, but they wanted to look into hammering out a one-time budget matter that included the safety of the community as a whole, health care and first responders’ needs as proposed by District 3 Commissioner Tarenia Carthan.
Under Jones’ proposal, the budget would be for a selected group of county employees to receive the bonus pay.
County Administrator Mark Teal said that $529,961 would cover the cost of the bonus. Money would be pulled from various sources, with $421,000 coming from the general fund.
The money will include retro pay dating back to March 16 and end on May 15.
About 547 employees are included in the initial proposal, but the list will be trimmed before the money is issued on a bi-weekly basis.
Teal said the amount would likely decrease once he and county Human Resources Director Fred Perry go over the list that was submitted by department heads and narrow down which employees will receive the extra money.
Many surrounding counties have approved a bonus pay for front line and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Included in the proposal were dispatch employees and some courthouse workers.
“It is for employees that come into director contact with the public,” Jones said.
Although 911 dispatchers don’t come in contact with the public, they have so far been included in the hazard bonus pay.
“They are important employees behind the scenes,” E-911 Director Greg Whitaker said during the hour-and-a-half virtual meeting. “The stress in the room is very high. People are calling dispatch for everything. They are in the trenches.”
Teal said the county could recoup some, if not all, the money from various resources.
During next Monday’s meeting, there will be a presentation to were the money will go if they use Carthan’s proposal for money for the community, health care and first responders.
The Sentinel reached out to the city of Douglasville regarding possible hazard pay for the city’s first responders, including officers with the Douglasville Police Department.
Douglasville Community Relations Director Jason Post responded by email.
“At this time the city is wrapping up planning for FY21 and reevaluating the current state of FY20,” Post said. “Any discussion about hazardous pay options will be based on what the upcoming budget meetings reveal.”