Northampton employee bonuses approved

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2022

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JACKSON – Northampton County local government employees will soon receive a bonus on an upcoming paycheck, thanks to funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The Board of Commissioners approved the recommendation at their meeting here on May 2. County Manager Julian Phillips presented the proposal following the annual audit report for FY21.

“Based on this great audit we just received and our strong financial position at this time, Chairman [Charles] Tyner and myself feel comfortable, and consider it a privilege, to propose a bonus pay-out to every active employee on record as of March 31, 2022,” Phillips explained.

Eligible employees must have maintained employment with the county for a minimum of one year. Full-time and permanent part-time employees will receive $1,000, and part-time employees will receive $500.

Interim Finance Director Doris Garner noted those figures were net amounts.

Phillips concluded his request by stating the goal is to have these bonuses included in the May 15 payroll.

“This is not coming from taxpayers. This is coming from federal funds they just allotted us for this purpose,” said Tyner.

The News Herald reached out for clarification and confirmed that Northampton County will use $269,627.16 of their ARPA funds to pay for the bonus.

In his remarks, Tyner emphasized the importance of maintaining good employees and staying competitive compared to surrounding counties. He also referenced the recent pay raise the commissioners approved which took effect in March.

That raise, which was only partially implemented following a pay study, set a new minimum of $15 per hour, but also created compression in the pay range. A second part to the pay raise could be implemented in the new fiscal year.

After Tyner’s remarks, Commissioner Nicole Boone asked if employees who have been employed less than a year but have already passed a probationary period be included in the bonus pay as well. Phillips said he would look into that possibility.

Boone then motioned to accept the proposal, and Commissioner Joyce Buffaloe seconded. The motion passed unanimously in favor by those in attendance. Commissioner Kelvin Edwards was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.