As a story in today's Observer reports, county commissioners approved a new pay plan for County Manager Harry Jones on Tuesday that eliminates performance bonuses from his compensation package.
Commissioners have approved bonuses regularly to county managers since the mid-1990s, but agreed in 2004 to change the way they are awarded. Under that plan, which you can read here, the manager could receive a performance bonus of up to 30 percent of his base salary based on four criteria, including percentage of county goals achieved and demonstrated leadership.
But on Tuesday, commissioners voted to eliminate that bonus, which they've also called "pay at risk" in the past year. Click here to read new details of the new pay plan.
Instead, the manager's base salary can be changed based on the "prevailing market rate" of his position. Any change to the base salary beyond the market adjustment will be based on the board's evaluation of the manager's performance, according to a document outlining the changes.
(Read more about how the county makes decisions on market rate and other pay adjustments by clicking here.)
For the year that begins July 1, Jones' base salary will be $242,500, up from his current pay of $215,655. The county said the increase is consistent with the average market rate adjustment of other county positions since 2008, the last time the manager had an increase in his base salary.
Jones' total compensation, however, is going down by about 6.6 percent to $283,011. That's because the county eliminated the bonus, as well as a match to his 401(k) plan.
Commissioners said Jones requested the decrease to his compensation.
In other changes to Jones' pay agreement, commissioners agreed to provide full payment of Jones' health insurance premiums if he is terminated by the board before December of 2011. Previously the board had agreed to pay 50 percent of those premiums. In addition, the board will continue to pay the health insurance for Jones' wife until she becomes Medicare eligible, regardless of whether Jones is terminated or retires.
Jones, 60, has been county manager since 2000.
Commissioners typically conduct their evaluation of Jones during the fall, but Chairman Jennifer Roberts said they wanted to discuss Jones' pay at the same time they considered the 2010-11 budget. Roberts said the board's evaluation of Jones' performance will continue in August. -- April Bethea