County officials issued pay raises

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — Raises totaling about $11,000 are on the way for two county officials.

Following a closed session Monday evening, the Surry County Board of Commissioners voted to give Clerk to the Board Conchita Atkins and Assistant County Manager Sandy Snow pay increases.

Snow, who primarily handles the human resources function in county government, will see her salary increase from $83,760 to $91,824 annually.

County Manager Chris Knopf said both increases are well-deserved and part of a plan to restructure the administrative portion of government in Surry County.

“These were the conclusion of a restructure that started last October and November,” noted Knopf. “We transferred the functions of payroll, insurance and benefits, risk management and liability from under (the) Finance (Department) to Sandy Snow. This increased her day-to-day supervisory responsibilities over critical functions.”

Knopf said after long-time Assistant County Manager for Finance Betty Taylor resigned in October, he and the board reexamined the administrative structure in government. They opted to do away with the assistant county manager title in the finance department, and make the position simply a finance officer position.

That move accounts for $23,000 in savings, helping Knopf justify Snow’s raise of about $8,000 to compensate her for the additional workload.

Knopf said the county plans to move forward with Snow as the only person holding a title of assistant county manager. She has more than 37 years of experience.

Much like Snow’s situation, Knopf said Atkins has also stepped up to the plate in the face of a heavier workload.

Knopf said as recently as May a full-time employee’s tasks were split between his office and Snow’s. The employee handled matters related to water and sewer, economic development and other assigned projects for Knopf.

When that employee moved into a roll as the county’s benefits administrator, Knopf and other officials had a decision to make.

“To ensure the efficiency of operations, we decided we had to absorb that workload.”

Knopf and the board opted to replace the full-time employee split between Snow’s and Knopf’s departments with a half-time employee earmarked only for Snow’s office. It accounts for a savings of about $21,000.

In his office, Knopf said Atkins has taken over the tasks once given to the phased-out position, and she also had previously absorbed additional clerical work as the result of the loss of a secretarial position in the county manager’s office.

He said her pay increase from an annual salary of $49,176 to $52,644 is well deserved, as she has become somebody whom he trusts with tasks of all levels of importance.

“I can trust Conchita with matters I might have given to an assistant county manager in the past.”

The pay increases may have come earlier, according to Knopf. However, he “wanted to ensure a seamless transition” had taken place prior to issuing the raises.

In the end, Knopf said with the reorganization now complete, the same functions are being achieved at the government center for about $33,000 less to the county taxpayer.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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