At City Manager’s Recommendation, Statesboro Council Approves $52K No-Bid Contract for Pay Study

The Statesboro City Council voted Tuesday night to engage in a $52,000 pay study after foregoing the bid process for the contract.

City Manager Charles Penny presented the item to members of council Tuesday during the regular council meeting. Penny asked the mayor and council to approve a $52,500 contract for Condrey & Associates for the purposes of conducting a pay classification and compensation study. The council voted unanimously to approve the contract with next to no discussion on the line item.

Though he wasn’t asked why the contract was without a bid, Penny preemptively offered an explanation that had nothing to do with the bidding process.

“We could go out for a Request For Qualifications (RFQ),” Penny said, “however, as [inaudible] shared with you when we went on our retreat, right now the Carl Vinson Institute is two years out from doing any new pay plans because it seems that across the state, uh, this is something that is being sought after because, again, the labor issues are not, are significant across the country and everyone is competing for personnel and and trying to make sure their pay plans are in line. So what we recommend to you is that we utilize Dr. Steven Condrey & Associates to do a new pay plan that would be for your consideration for implementation in July of 2024.”

The use of the publicly-funded Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia is completely independent of a municipality’s decision to conduct its own pay study process with private firms.

High Cost of the Study

The city’s last pay study was conducted in 2019 and prior to that, in 2015. The 2019 study was also conducted by Condrey & Associates, but only cost the city $29,900, according to an October 2018 council packet in which the contract was approved. It was also the result of a rigorous evaluation by a team of city employees who sought RFPs for services. Notably, Condrey & Associates was not the lowest bidder for services in 2018. 

Comparatively, Effingham County conducted a pay study in 2021, after seeking bids for services, and awarded a contract for $18,500 to Evergreen Solutions, LLC. The City of Marietta, which has a population of 61,400 and employs considerably more people, also paid Evergreen Solutions for a pay study in 2022, to the tune of $55,000 and Habersham County in North Georgia was able to contract a study for $34,500 in 2022 as well. Peachtree City (pop.38,818) budgeted “up to” $50,000 in 2021 but had not had a pay study completed since 2014, as opposed to Statesboro’s 2019.

Additionally, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia offers the consulting services to local governments for considerably less, if at any cost at all, but Penny said the Institute is currently running two years out for consulting services. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs also offers a public database of range salaries for positions within local governments based on population size. The purpose is twofold: for transparency and for comparative use so that local governments can evaluate the competitiveness of the salary ranges they’re offering. In other college towns, such as Valdosta, local governments have utilized the services of university students to assist with the projects.

Read the contract to be signed with Condrey & Associates in 2023 below

Relationship with the City Manager and Condrey & Associates

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Councilwoman Shari Barr asked if the city had a relationship with Condrey, to which Penny replied that it did and he used Condrey in his prior employment in North Carolina. Penny said the firm is ‘well respected.’

Below is an excerpt from the council meeting agenda packet memo from HR Director Demetrius C. Bynes to City Manager Charles Penny:

Since February 2022, several employers have announced plans to build manufacturing facilities in Bulloch County and hire over 1500 employees. Given the challenges exposed during the COVID pandemic and the eventual opening of the new manufacturing facilities, the City of Statesboro must take steps to retain its existing workforce while also addressing recruitment challenges. Condrey & Associates completed the City’s last classification and compensation study in 2019 and has provided technical support at no additional cost for approximately four years. Condrey & Associates has provided human resources consulting services to various local and state governments for over 24 years. The two principals assigned to this project, Dr. Steve Condrey and Ms. Jan Hansford, have collaborated on over 500 similar projects. Also, Condrey & Associates employs several subject matter experts with knowledge in the areas of local government administration, public safety, public utilities, public works, fire, finance, human resources, and information technology. Given the current relationship with Condrey & Associates, and the firm’s extensive background in human resources consulting, I support partnering with Condrey & Associates to complete the classification and compensation study. Assuming the motion is approved by the Elected Body, Condrey & Associates is prepared to begin the classification and compensation study in July 2023.

You can view the three minute clip of the discussion on the agenda item below

Statesboro City Council Approves $52K No-Bid Salary Study

Uploaded by The Georgia Virtue on 2023-07-08.

Read about other actions taken by the council Tuesday night here:

RUNDOWN: Statesboro City Council Meeting- June 20, 2023

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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