JONESBORO A decision to give Clayton County Parks and Recreation Director Detrick Stanford a five-percent raise while not giving increases to other valued employees left county commissioners at odds this week.
The commission voted 3-2 to give Stanford a five-percent pay raise Tuesday. Proponents of the raise argued Stanford earned the raise by receiving national and state honors in recent years. They also argued he was taking on greater responsibilities for his department.
But commissioners Sonna Singleton and Gail Hambrick argued Stanford should not be singled out for a raise above other department directors. They explained their opposition was based on their belief that all department heads should receive raises at the same time.
“Detrick has done a yeoman’s job but so have all of our directors,” Singleton said. “I cannot in good conscience vote for this increase when I cannot vote for the other 1,900-plus employees of Clayton County and specifically directors. I know these are other duties, but I’m sure every director in here has taken on additional duties.”
While the commissioners expressed appreciation for the job Stanford was doing this week, several were split on whether he had done enough to merit the raise. Some of them said he had brought prestige to the county while others argued his daily job performance was not noteworthy.
But Commissioner Shana Rooks and Chairman Jeff Turner said Stanford deserved the raise partly because of national recognitions he has brought to his department.
“The Clayton County director of parks and recreation recently won an award prior to me joining the board, am I correct?” said Rooks.
She was referring to the fact the department received the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association’s Agency of the Year Award last year.
“I think his receiving that award also brought national notoriety to Clayton County,” Turner said.
During Stanford’s tenure as the director of parks and recreation, the department also became the first county recreation agency in Georgia to obtain accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies in 2011.
Stanford is also a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association’s Board of Directors.
Turner said Stanford’s job description is being changed to include policy-setting and grant-writing duties. The chairman added Stanford had been doing those duties for awhile even though they are not officially his responsibility.
“This is just a five-percent increase to allow Detrick to do some additional work on the side that was [previously] going outside the scope of his parks director position,” Turner said.
But Hambrick said other department heads also perform grant-writing duties. She explained Senior Service Director Mary Byrd recently got a grant to install new carpet in the Frank Bailey Senior Center.
The District 2 commissioner said several department heads have contacted her to express concern about Stanford’s raise, but she did not identify them.
“Several of our directors write grants, so that’s nothing different unless we decide to do all of our directors,” Hambrick said. “I just think it sets a bad precedent for our department heads that we do this when we have a very good group of leaders and I want to keep it that way.”