Augusta Regional Airport employees are in line for across-the-board pay increases, but it may be a few months before the rest of the city workforce sees any change in pay.
The Augusta Commission on Tuesday approved raising salaries at the airport after a closed-door meeting with airport staff. The vote was 8-1 with Commissioner Marion Williams abstaining.
Airport Communications Manager Lauren Smith said the Aviation Commission authorized a compensation study last year done by consultant Rod Powell. Powell served as city human resources director from 2008 to 2011.
The study looked industry-wide at compensation for all positions except janitorial, which the airport brought back in-house earlier this year, Smith said.
It increased, effective in July, “the majority of those positions that were under the industry average,” while those “above or average were not touched,” Smith said. None saw pay decrease as a result, she said.
The airport employs about 83 people, including customer service agents, Richmond County marshals, operations agents, firefighters and groundskeepers, according to salary data recently provided to The Augusta Chronicle. Seven staffers made more than $90,000, while the average salary was $45,979.
Augusta Aviation Commission member Cedric Johnson said most airport directors were not affected by the increase, including Director Herbert Judon. Judon earns the airport’s highest salary at $160,000.
“We tried to look at those lower-paid employees that were below the level or scale and tried to bring them up,” Johnson said.
Williams said he did not support the increases because while the airport enterprise fund can afford them, the city’s general fund cannot.
“I thought we were going to create a snowball effect and we don’t have the money for the other employees,” Williams said.
Commissioners may soon have an opportunity to raise the pay of other staff, but it won’t be as soon as expected. Williams said results from a citywide compensation study are now due back in October. City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said earlier this year results from a “top to bottom” analysis would be back this month. The commission approved hiring the Archer Company to perform the analysis last year for $100,000.
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