COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Local employees and city leaders have expressed concern over the growing number of vacancies and high turnover rates in the City of Columbus.

While officials are working towards improving these issues, the solution still hangs in the balance for the more than 2,000 employees.

As part of the solution city officials brought in a national consulting firm, Evergreen Solutions, this past spring to conduct a pay study for city employees.

The firm recommended an updated pay plan for city employees. Parts of that plan were adopted in September, and a resolution to implement that plan was presented to city council last Tuesday. No motions were made.

During the study, Evergreen Solutions compared Columbus to local area-competitors including eight different cities, nine counties, three consolidated governments, and one local organization. Among those were the Muscogee County School District, Auburn, LaGrange, Phenix City, Harris and Troup counties. Evergreen Solutions’ findings revealed more than three quarters of employees are making what they classify minimum to midpoint pay grade.

Tuesday, Oct. 25, Human Resources Director Reather Hollowell, presented two plans and dates to city council to implement the adopted pay scale. One was denied.

City officials say employees will have to wait for change.

“Employees will not receive anything this year, it will be next year sometime,” City Manager Isaiah Hugley said. “So, employees need to know they’re not getting any results this time.”

The second plan would not be implemented until Jan. 7, 2023 and reflected in paychecks on Jan. 27. This plan has still not been approved.

At the conclusion of the study, employees received a notice of their recommended pay scales.

So far more than 400 employees submitted an appeal because they still felt Evergreen Solutions’ recommendations were not fair and did not take tenure and extended hours into consideration when evaluating their position.

Once the pay plan is implemented, employees will have up to two years to submit appeals.

WRBL spoke to one city employee who was recommended by Evergreen Solutions for an $11,000 bump in salary. The city worker is worried he will never receive that pay raise because in his opinion City Council keeps pushing back the resolution.