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Seniority costs Hamilton County millions of dollars

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

While Hamilton County government has been in a period of self-proclaimed belt tightening, department heads and constitutional officers have been given nearly $6.6 million over the past five years to funnel raises, promotions and other pay increases to employees.

A Chattanooga Times Free Press review found that nearly $1.9 million was budgeted for raises or promotions in various departments and constitutional offices, along with $4.6 million in longevity pay — a guaranteed structured pay increase based on length of service — from 2010 to 2014.

During that same period, county commissioners approved only one outright pay raise. Yet payroll costs mounted year after year.

County officials say budgeted raises and promotions aren't always paid out, and what money isn't used is returned to the general fund. But employees are always paid for longevity.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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