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Carroll County commissioners launch study aimed to improve county government’s ability to attract, retain employees

While the Carroll County government struggles to attract and retain employees, staff are taking steps to mitigate the problem before services need to be cut.

At Thursday’s meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved a contract for a compensation, classification and organizational design study to Segal’s Consulting.

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Segal’s has over 20 locations across the U.S. and has recently done similar work in Frederick County, according to Maureen Dunn, procurement officer.

“This is a once-in-a-generation sort of opportunity here,” Ted Zaleski, director of the department of management and budget, shared with the board. “You’ve heard presentations from human resources and budget about our concerns with our ability to recruit, engage and retain employees.”

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He mentioned there has been of lack of employment applications for open positions within the county government and many jobs must be reposted more than once.

“Supervisor positions don’t seem appealing” because of the ratio between responsibilities and compensation, he said, adding there is also a concern about looming retirements. “We know people are going to be leaving.”

Zaleski said the information which will come from the study needs to be available in time for the next budget process.

“The reality of the size of this job and meeting that time frame is not a nice, neat fit,” he said. “But finding an existing contract makes it a shorter process.”

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Dunn said earlier in the meeting the contract for the study would be “piggybacking off a Montgomery College contract that competitively bid” and awarded to the company.

There are three components of the study, including analyzing the organization, design and compensation offered by the county government.

“Another way to think about this is we want to be looking at how we provide services, what positions you need to provide those services and how do you compensate the people who are doing that work,” Zaleski said. “We’ll be working very closely with the vendor to provide data, history and context.”

He said they are “in a market” for employees and right now they’re “not competing well” as they go up against not only other local governments but also the private sector.

Zaleski said the cost of the study is $300,000.

“I believe we need to do this,” he said, asking commissioners to approve the contract for concurrence and a transfer of funds from the reserve contingency to his budget. “Our ability to provide services has been getting squeezed for decades.”

Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, said he “wants the public to know the $300,000 in question to be allocated is not that much in comparison to the size of the organization [that the commissioners oversee.]”

“It’s going to be a lot of work … to make this happen,” he said. “I’m 100% behind this.”

Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, asked Zaleski to provide the board with a monthly or bi-monthly update on the progress.

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