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11Alive delivers taxpayer concerns about costly study

10:26 AM, Jun 1, 2012   |    comments
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11Alive reporter Jerry Carnes delivers taxpayer concerns to Cobb County's Commission Chairman.

MARIETTA, Ga. -- 11Alive News hand delivered dozens of taxpayer concerns to Cobb County's Commission Chairman, who says he's undecided about a costly salary survey.

"I can't close my mind until I have all the facts," Chairman Tim Lee said.

RELATED | Cobb considers study that could cost taxpayers $350,000

Cobb County's Citizens Oversight Committee suggested a survey to make sure county employees are being fairly compensated. It would compare Cobb's wages to those in other counties and the private sector. It could cost $350,000. The price tag is an estimate based on similar surveys conducted in the past.

Chairman Lee agreed to meet with 11Alive's Jerry Carnes to review taxpayer comments sent to 11Alive.

Ron from Kennesaw commented on 11Alive.com that, "If Cobb County wastes my money like this, I promise I will vote against every incumbent."

Lizz wrote on 11Alive's Facebook page that such spending would be "wasteful, wasteful, wasteful."

Gene also wrote on Facebook, pointing out that $350,000 is "less than 1/10th of the county's budget."

Lee said the comments would be carefully considered. Regarding criticism, he said, "It doesn't surprise me at all. The folks that agree aren't going to (speak out)."

"This is one recommendation," Lee added. "We haven't had the opportunity to ferret through this to the extent it needs to be. If it's something we can do and there's a return on the investment that's significant, we can't afford not to do it. If it's something that doesn't deliver results, then of course not."

11Alive also emailed viewer concerns to other members of the Cobb County Commission.

Commissioner JoAnne Birrell responded that she is not in favor of a $350,000 study. She prefers a committee to study the issue internally.

"This would be done at no additional costs to the county," said Birrell. "I have read the comments and would definitely consider them before making a decision on this issue."

When asked if he could support such an expenditure, Commissioner Bob Ott replied, "Not now."

"I think it is expensive," Ott said. "It seems we should be able to get information from the state or other sources to see how our pay package compares. I'm also concerned about making changes on the back of a tax increase."

Commissioner Helen Goreham wrote that she needs more information.

"I consider all my constituents' concerns and comments when making a decision," Goreham said. "$350,000 does seem high. However, I do not have expertise in the area of staffing compensation and benefits. Therefore, I need to look at the issue closer before any action on this issue." 

11Alive News will continue to follow the proposal as it makes its way through the county.

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