It is not a big deal, but then maybe it is.
The Laurinburg Exchange as it often does when reporting on the employment of public officials, included what Laurinburg City Manager Ed Burchins said was his new Human Resources Director Amy Martin’s starting salary.
We were told that Martin’s base salary would be about $78,000 a year, a slight increase over her predecessor Bob Bell, who we were told made about $76,893 a year.
When The Exchange did a follow-up report on Martin and her plans for the personnel department, the newspaper was provided with a spreadsheet of her salary and benefits. We reported that Martin’s salary and benefits were $82,805.35.
We learned earlier this week that the newspaper was wrong again. Councilman J.D. Willis pointed out the discrepancy at a special called meeting on Monday. Willis, who knew the correct figure, wanted to know why this newspaper can’t get it right.
There is no good answer to Willis’ question. We could blame poor communication or bad arithmetic But the real solution is better reporting and tougher editing.
The reason that it is important that we get it right is because Martin works for you.
This newspaper’s reporters are not inquiring about salaries as self-appointed busybodies. What the city is spending on salaries, a dump truck or even a trip to Las Vegas, is important because it is coming out your pocket.
Whether it is too much, too little or just right, is up to you. But you cannot make that assessment, unless you know what the true facts are.
Here are the facts about Martin’s annual salary and benefits:
She will be paid $82,805.35 as an annual base salary. She will get an additional $5,581.59 in retirement and $4,140.27 in 401K. She has decided not to take $5,535.72 in health insurance. The city will pay her a total package of $92,526.70.
According to information provided by the city manager, after six months, Martin’s base salary could go to $84,875.48; retirement — $5720.61 and 401k — $4,243.77.
Bell’s yearly salary and benefits were $91,455.99, including a base salary of $76,893; retirement, $5,182.59; 401k, 3,844.65; and health insurance, $5,535.72.