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Human Resources Committee Meeting Minutes Wednesday, April 17, 2019

For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Human Resources Committee Meeting held on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Human Resources Committee Minutes 4-17-19 with Attachments

To read the minutes, please open or download the pdf from the link above, or you may see more below.

Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission

1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Commission Meeting Room

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM



Donald Elliott, Committee Chairman

Cornell Harvey, Commissioner                                           

Wayne Neal, Commissioner

Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director

ALSO PRESENT:               

Ben Turnipseed, Commission Chairman

Tripp Stephens, Commissioner

Steve Copeland, Commissioner

Andrew Burroughs, Deputy Executive Director

Janice Meridith, Exec. Commission Administrator

Chairman Elliott called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM.


There being no citizens that wished to address the Committee, Chairman Elliott closed the Public Comment Period.


  1. Pay Scales – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin informed the committee that in 2014 Condrey and Associates did a salary study for JWSC.  He has been in contact with Condrey and received a proposal to update that salary study.  A copy of the 2014 Condrey Study was provided to the committee.  Commissioner Neal commented that straight percentage salary increases can cause disparity between the higher and lower salary incomes.  Mr. Junkin explained how the annual salary increases are calculated including the COLA increases and possible step increases depending on the employee’s performance evaluation score.   There was some additional discussion pertaining to percentage increases.  Commissioner Harvey stated he believed a market survey of salaries in this area should be done, and that data should be used to base salaries on.  Additionally he expressed a concern that there could be staff earning salaries outside of or exceeding the salary range for their position.  Mr. Junkin stated that Teamwork Services has confirmed that all of the staff salaries are within their pay grade range.  Commissioner Stephens does not think individual salaries should be focused on as a process.  He added that we need to be sure we have competitive salaries, a fair process and no disparity between team members.  With respect to the discussion on salary comparison with the local marketplace and community, Committee Chairman Elliott reminded the committee that most of the positions within the JWSC organization require licensing to be fully qualified to do most of the jobs, and this demands that our workers do hard work and also be educated enough to be able to pass tests for certification and licensing which are also hard.

  1. Trending Performance Appraisal Elements – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin asked Andrew Burroughs to research and review the performance appraisals, with a reason that the key components focused on were operations management and the Commissioners had noted concerns of safety and maintenance.  He added that Mr. Burroughs’ review was performed in terms of how the performance appraisals “fit” with what JWSC is trying to achieve.  Andrew Burroughs provided that there were 5 key topics that the Commissioners noted needing to be addressed in a more direct manner, and those were edited into the job descriptions of the superintendents.  Those edits are only in draft form at this time and have not been adopted.  He provided the following 5 key topics:

(1) Improve system functionality and reliability with the incorporation of preventive maintenance;

(2) Make sure we are doing the necessary tests to determine where the repairs need to be made;

(3) Improve housekeeping of facilities, vehicles and equipment, maintenance etc.;

(4) System analysis, a big picture analysis to determine where improvements are needed; and

(5) Ensure JWSC employees are working in a safe work environment.

Mr. Burroughs said that those 5 key points can be addressed with the existing form and would fall under different categories, and noted the categories that the key points fall under.  System function through preventive maintenance can be addressed through competencies, core values and dependability.  He commented that part of the core values are to be customer focused, community aligned and to continually strive for improvement.  Mr. Burroughs added that all of those functionalities play into making sure we have a reliable system.  If we do not have a reliable system we cannot meet our customers’ needs or our community’s needs, and if we are not getting better we are not striving to improve.  We need to be sure our equipment and processes are dependable. Regarding necessary repairs this can be addressed through productivity and quality of work.  Housekeeping can be addressed through responsibility, and responsibility demonstrates a commitment to the public perception of the organization.  System analysis through core values and problem solving competency; and promoting a safe working environment would fall under subordination development and also communications of the importance of safety.  Mr. Burroughs provided that changing the job descriptions to call these key points out, and putting the superintendents on a pseudo-probationary period with a 1 month, 3 month and 6 month appraisal to ensure that they are performing the key points that the Commissioners have requested to be addressed and improved on.  Commissioner Harvey inquired if all new directors and superintendents are placed on the same frequency of performance evaluations in their probationary period, and Mr. Burroughs confirmed they are.  Commissioner Neal asked if there is a safety program in place.  Mr. Burroughs advised that there is a Safety Council of which a representative from each division is a member of, in addition those members report back to their divisions as to the recommendations and decisions of the Safety Council.  He stated that the departments have weekly meetings to discuss operations and expectations as well as safety briefings including “Toolbox Topics” which is an educational component of the safety program.  Commissioner Neal questioned if random site visits were made to check for safety procedures being followed on the jobs out in the field.  Mr. Burroughs advised that several times during the year, the worker’s compensation representative does make random site visits to check for observation of safety rules and safe habits by JWSC staff.  Also, the superintendents, executive director and deputy director visit job sites to inspect for safety habits. Members of the safety council are to start making site visits to also make recommendations regarding safety issues.  Chairman Elliott advised he does occasionally stop at work sites.  He added that in the past if helmets were not worn or safety vests for example, he did not correct them on the spot at the site, but now does.  He encouraged the Commissioners to do the same.  Stopping, viewing and speaking to the crews shows the staff that the Commissioners are interested in their work and safety, and also the crews might take safety more seriously.

Chairman Elliott requested Mr. Burroughs to finalize the job description edits and update the committee at the next HR Committee meeting.  Also take a look at the key directors that are not in operations divisions to see what changes are needed on those. 

  1. Technical Training Program – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin highlighted the Step-wise Training Program for technical hourly staff.  The technical areas of concern include:  Maintenance, Water/Wastewater Treatment Operations, Electronics/Controls, Electricians, SCADA Technology, Construction Inspection, Lab Technology, etc.  He stated that if emphasis is going to be placed on maintenance and preventive maintenance then JWSC needs to ensure that the staff doing that technical work have the skillsets they need to do the work.  Mr. Junkin further described the model and highlighted the core process.  He indicated that there may be larger utilities in the state who have programs and training materials developed and may be able to share those resources.  Mr. Junkin added that GAWP may be able to coordinate and provide some assistance.  This type of technical training will also promote better working habits, safer working habits and better results for the utility. There was some additional discussion pertaining to vocational school training, and also checking with Ga. Pacific and Pinova on the skill sets they require and what training is provided for their employees.

  1. Worker’s Compensation Significant Accidents – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin provided a summary list of the worker’s compensation accidents for the years of 2018 and 2019 for the committee to review.  It was noted that the worker’s comp. insurance premium dropped this year.

  1. Health Insurance Plan Participation – J. Junkin

Commissioner Elliott requested a list for the committee to see how the participation in the health plan was for the current year as compared to the previous. Chairman Elliott suggested they might want to consider next year JWSC putting some money in the Health Savings Accounts of which the employees on this plan contribute the whole 100% to their accounts, as there is a possible disparity for those who selected this type of health plan.  Commissioner Stephens commented that care should be taken to not offer deductibles at such a high level that employees do not go to the doctor when needed.  There are can be a long term impact when employees do not seek preventative care due to high costs but then get sick due to not taking care of themselves.  Commissioner Neal provided that the County’s plan offers a wellness center and wellness care.  Mr. Junkin advised recalled for the committee that Catina Tindall advised that JWSC cannot wait until December to decide to make changes to the health insurance plans.

  1. Defined Benefit Plan – J. Junkin

Staff prepared a list of employees and their eligibility for the pension plan.  Some people who are at retirement age often keep working due to health care and also money needs until Social Security begins.  This can cause having an older staff and also staff with more health issues due to age.

Committee Chairman Elliott then referred to the Defined Benefit Plan Amendments documents which John Donaghy had forwarded for the Commissioners to review.  He advised that the changes the GMA made were basically housekeeping items with no real changes to the plan.

Commissioner Stephens returned to the spreadsheet on anticipated retirement age and requested staff to add the employees’ job titles and grades to it.  He then commented back on the pay scales discussion and added that the goal is to be sure we are paying everybody fairly, not too little and not too high.  The committee then revisited the discussion on salary raises with commentary on JWSC not budgeting for raises, but to place those funds in a reserve.  It was noted that if JWSC doesn’t keep pace with the market, we will train people and then other employers hire them.  It was suggested that Condrey and Associates should be invited to come in and give a presentation of what they plan to do, to set the stage for the study, and advise what they did previously and explain the process for understanding.

With no further business to discuss, Committee Chairman Elliott adjourned the meeting at

11:25 a.m.

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Brunswick - Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission - 1703 Gloucester Street Brunswick, GA 31520 - 912-261-7100