Study Shows County Salaries Low

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John Shelley has worked as a correctional officer at Colquitt County Prison for a little over two years now.

He enjoys his job, but says its difficult to make a living on what he's paid.

"I will make 10 dollars an hour and that will be it, I won't make any more than that for 2 and a half years for 40 hours a week, you're not going to live off that and support a family," says John Shelley.

Shelley is not alone. A salary survey conducted by the Southwest Regional Development Center says about 25 % of the county's employees are not paid as much as counterparts in comparable counties.

Some of the jobs impacted are correctional officers,clerks, 911 dispatchers, and employees with the roads and bridges department.

The sheriff says commissioners addressed the salaries in 2001 but with the changing economy, it's time to look at it again.

"We're concerned that salaries of our entry level employees have been low for quite some time and we're concerned that unless our commissioners address these situations, these employees are going to be looking elsewhere..and I cant blame em," said Sheriff Al Whittington.

"Basically we need the awareness of the county commissioners that this is a problem that doesn't just affect us on payday Friday, but affects us every day of the week," said Shelley.

The finance director says it will cost roughly $265,000 to bring those salaries in line with their target.

Commissioners formed a committee to examine employee's salaries and it had its first meeting Wednesday afternoon.