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Sarasota News Leader August 23, 2013 Page 21 Offering a brief history of county action regarding employee pay, she pointed out that in 2004 and 2005, then-County Administrator Jim Ley asked the Human Resources Department staff to work on a recruitment and retention strategy because the number of county government workers leaving for the private sector had reached an annual level as high as 13 percent. "We had not had turnover like that in the past," Whitley noted. When Patterson clarified that was during the area's construction boom, Whitley confirmed that was correct. Then, in 2007, when the economy began its slide, Whitley continued, layoffs of county staff were necessary to lower costs. With the economy improving once again, Whitley pointed out, and the private sector seeing a rebound, "we will lose talent in the organization." Vice Chairman Charles Hines studies a slide during the Aug. 20 budget workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney training time, lost productivity and the loss of institutional knowledge among them. "It's just really hard to put a value on talent," she added. In recent weeks, she said, several county department chiefs had expressed concerns about employees leaving and had asked whether extra compensation would be possible. When Robinson said she understood the cities of Venice and North Port were not offering raises for the next fiscal year, Reid replied that many municipalities are dealing with pension She said the county was looking at a turnover issues, necessitating tighter control of expensrate of 7.8 percent for the current fiscal year, es. County workers are typically covered by the Florida Retirement System, he added. compared to 7.2 percent in FY 2012. Further, Whitley pointed out, 25 percent of the THE DETAILS county's workforce is eligible for retirement Barbetta pointed out that he believed a merit over the next five years. pay plan should be seen as an incentive for A lot of costs are involved in turnover, Whit- workers to achieve 4s and 5s in their evalualey explained — recruitment of new workers, tions. In response to a question, Whitley told

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