A county commissioner is looking in a new direction in terms of how to go about conducting a study of employee pay.

Last month, county officials said they would bring in outside firms to interview about conducting a pay study.

But now First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker says a new approach may be taken.

“It’s progressing,” Brinker said of the county’s pay study efforts. “The need is recognized by all.”

Franklin County may now use pay studies from other counties instead of having its own review conducted from scratch, Brinker said.

He has contacted Camden County and learned that officials there had a study done in 2006 for $60,000.

Likewise, he said St. Charles County also had a study done in 2010 that Franklin County could possibly use.

He said those two counties will provide copies of their pay studies to Franklin County for review.

“We are going to be able to glean over $100,000 in pay studies for no charge,” Brinker said.

He noted that the studies he will look at will come from first-class noncharter counties like Franklin County.

By looking at those two counties’ studies, Franklin County should have a better idea in terms of how to proceed with its own study, Brinker said.

He added that he should get the pay studies from those two counties in a couple of weeks.

County commissioners will have to determine if they still want to bring in outside firms to give presentations on how they would conduct a pay study on Franklin County employees, Brinker said.

The county might save some money if it used a pay study conducted on another county and applied it to Franklin County, he said.

For instance, instead of hiring a consultant to conduct a pay study on Franklin County from the ground up, maybe a consultant could be hired to mesh another county’s pay study into the Franklin County system, Brinker said.

County commissioners understand the need to address problems with the county’s outdated employee pay system, Brinker said, adding that it has not been looked at in more than 10 years.

The current plan is “quasi archaic” Brinker said, noting that job descriptions are out of date, especially when it comes to technological changes.

Brinker said he thinks all county employees are underpaid for the jobs they do, adding that across-the- board raises have not been given since 2008.

“Cost of living alone has grown exponentially,” Brinker said.

Employees’ insurance costs have gone up, but their pay has not, he said.

“We realize the sacrifices these employees make,” Brinker said. “We appreciate them.”

But the problem is that the county “needs funding” to give raises, he said.