Many Durham administrators got raises this year

CorrespondentNovember 18, 2011 

County Manager Mike Ruffin wasn’t the only one to get a raise this year.

The Durham County commissioners approved raises for themselves and their employees earlier this year.

Beyond the 10 percent raise recently awarded to Ruffin, commissioners also approved a 4.25 percent raise for themselves in the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Commissioners have also approved increases for the five other county officials they evaluate: the sheriff, county attorney, register of deeds, clerk to the board and tax administrator.

Those increases range from 4.25 percent for Sheriff Worth Hill, which brought his salary up to $127,279 to a 31.7 percent raise for Clerk to the Board Michelle Parker-Evans, who now makes $80,313 annually. Parker-Evens recently received her clerk certification after two years of class work, which is one of the reasons the increase is so high, Ruffin said.

For the most part, county salaries have remained frozen due to the economy for the past three years. About a year ago, commissioners approved a one-time $1,000 county employee bonus.

In comparison, the Durham City Council, city manager, attorney, and clerk, who have also faced salary freezes since July 2008, received a 2 percent raise this year. City employees also received a $1,000 bonus in 2011. The city’s budget this fiscal year reinstated 3 percent to 5 percent pay increases for sworn police officers, a 3 percent increase for sworn firefighters, and a 2 percent increase for general employees, according to information provided by the city.

County Commissioners Chairman Michael Page said the employees “came to commissioners regarding their salaries and how below market value,” they were.

“They felt that as if we had not really addressed it, and we had not in some time and were trying to bring them up to market status,” Page said. “I feel like what we are trying to do is do the best we can to keep our employees stable as possible in light of these times.”

Ruffin's 10 percent raise brings his salary to $197,000.

According to information provided by Durham County Human Resources Director Elaine Hyman, county managers' annual salaries in the state's 10 most populous counties range from $163,113 in Forsyth County to $242,500 in Mecklenburg County, the most heavily populated in the state. Salaries for managers of counties with a population between 190,000 and 302,965 ranged from $155,000 to $208,624. Durham County has an estimated population of 267,587.

Look for more on this story coming Sunday in The Durham News.

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