Select Middleburg town staffers who demonstrated exemplary work ethic last year could be getting cash bonuses in the coming months.
The Town Council is discussing the possibility of giving Town Administrator Danny Davis the go-ahead to hand out a total of $15,000 in bonuses to some of the town’s 14 full-time and two part-time staff members based on last year’s performance evaluations that were conducted by former town administrator Martha Semmes and Police Chief A.J. Panebianco. Davis said the bonuses are possible because the funding is in the current fiscal year 2019 budget and because they were not handed out in 2018.
“Because there’s been a little bit of ambiguity or uncertainty, those have not been distributed for this fiscal year,” he said. “I believe it would be important to recognize our employees for the hard work they did over this past year.”
If the Town Council authorizes Davis to move forward, he would first look at the findings of last year’s performance evaluations to see which employees received a merit rating of 4.0 or higher. From there, he’ll determine how much money each employee should be rewarded based on an employee-to-employee comparison and how much money he has to work with.
When Councilman Kevin Hazard expressed concern that the increases could get larger each year and eventually “blow it out of the water,” Davis said that shouldn’t become a problem because not every employee will receive a merit increase and because it is performance-based system and not a guaranteed bonus.
Vice Mayor Darlene Kirk said that, while town staff has worked hard, her philosophy is that “if you do your job, you get your paycheck” and that bonuses shouldn’t be handed out just because staffers do what they’re required to do. Kirk said that bonuses should be handed out only if staffers “do something above and beyond.” “Just doing your job, you don’t get a merit,” she said.
Davis assured the Town Council that the bonuses would be handed out to staffers who exhibit a higher level of commitment at work. “There has to be true evaluation of the performance,” he said.
Moving into the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, Davis will bring in human resources professionals from the county government and larger towns to get a feel for how they handle merit increases.
The town will also consider continuing with a one-time cash bonus system or implementing annual salary increases.
Councilman Kevin Daly urged Davis to work closely with the town staff to ensure that they have all the tools they need to get the highest merit rating they can achieve. “It’s very important that you let the folks know what is expected of them and what they need to do to meet those expectations to get that higher level,” he said.
Davis said that he would listen to staff members to better understand their goals and to set expectations so that “success is defined.”