David Gantt weighs in on employee pay, CTS contamination

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair David Gantt weighs in on a number issues in his June 24 email newsletter. Here’s the text and video of Gantt speaking about employee pay issues, including the salary of County Manager Wanda Greene:

Focus on the Budget: Salaries

The June 19th Buncombe County Commission meeting was perhaps the most important of the year, with the Board voting on the next county budget. Buncombe will spend $337 million for all purposes in the fiscal year that begins July 1, an increase of about one percent over last year. There will be no changes in the tax rate or in county employee compensation.

Employee compensation has been a hot topic lately, with numerous stories in local media about the County Manager’s salary, the amount of longevity pay for long-time employees, and the waiting period for workers to be eligible for coverage under the county’s health insurance program.

David addresses these issues in detail in three short videos, the first of which is linked below. Keep an eye on your inbox and on social media for the next two videos which will be posted in the coming weeks.

This week, David discusses commissioners’ salaries and the compensation package for County Manager Wanda Greene. He notes Greene’s important role in the recent decision by Standard and Poor’s decision to upgrade Buncombe County’s credit rating to AAA, her involvement in bringing Linamar to the county, and other improvements in the financial health of Buncombe since she was hired. WATCH PART 1:

County to Run Water Line to CTS-Contaminated Community

Also at their June 19th meeting, Buncombe County Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the County Manager to apply for a grant to run a water line to homes located near the old CTS site in Skyland. Groundwater contamination from CTS operations have caused numerous health concerns in the area.

Even though cleanup and restoration of the site is the responsibility of state and federal government, commissioners decided to take what action that they can. (Last year when the EPA made it clear that the CTS site was not a priority, the abandoned plant was demolished at county expense.)

David states, “We hoped- and we tried the best we could to get the government to do what they were supposed to do. We set up a citizens’ advisory board so they could speak with one voice to state and federal government. That didn’t do any good. Everything just kept getting put off.”

“The federal government should make CTS pay for everything, and we’re going to try to get money from them. The county doesn’t have a role, but we’re going to assert ourselves because it’s our people.”

“We’re going to run a water line- almost four million dollars worth- to the people in that community so they can feel safe when they drink the water, and we’re going to go after CTS. And we’re going to go after the state and federal government because they should have been doing this. But it’s just gone on too long.”

Join Team Gantt!

David Gantt is a proven leader for Buncombe. He has led the way in bringing good-paying jobs with benefits to the county; in protecting our environment through increased energy efficiency in county operations, promoting conservation easements, and supporting a dark skies initiative; and in supporting education by advocating for teachers and for replacing substandard schools.

With the new district elections, commissioners will now be primarily representing their districts instead of the county as a whole. The exception is the Chairman, who will still be elected countywide.

In this new environment it will essential that the Commission Chair be an experienced and proven leader with extensive knowledge of the issues and concerns of all Buncombe County citizens and with the ability to bring opposing factions to agreement for the common good.

Please help make sure that Buncombe County continues to move in the right direction. Why wait? The election is closer than it seems, and you can make a huge difference. Join us today.

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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