Employee transfers rare in Beaufort County, officials say

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJune 23, 2013 

As the town of Port Royal transfers its garbage-collection service to a private company, it will be transferring two town employees as well.

The town's sanitation workers will become Waste Pro employees once the company begins fulfilling its contract to collect the town's garbage.

Local government officials say such employee transfers are rare -- Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and county officials could not recall approving similar agreements -- but they have occurred in Beaufort County.

The public nonprofit Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority has taken on government employees during sewer- and water-system mergers. It did so with the city of Beaufort in 1999, the city of Hardeeville in 2002 and the town of Port Royal in 2003, BJWSA spokesman Matthew Brady said.

"In each of these, we agreed to make their water-wastewater employees our employees, if they wanted to come to BJWSA. They received no pay reduction," he said. "On the whole, it has worked really well for us."

All of those workers accepted the jobs offered to them, he said. He did not have numbers immediately available Friday on how many were hired or how many have stayed on. Some have retired or chosen to leave over time, he said.

"We believe it was the right thing to do, operationally and organizationally, to have these folks come onboard," Brady said.

Port Royal town manager Van Willis said the two employees transferred from the town to BJWSA are still employed.

As for the town's sanitation workers being transferred, he expected they also will fare well.

They are guaranteed one year of employment with benefits and pay comparable to their compensation from the town, according to the agreement Town Council approved June 12. A start date for Waste Pro collection is still being worked out.

A Waste Pro official said she expected the new employees to be an asset to the company.

"We're happy to get good employees, and this is a good way to get employees who are experienced," said Fran Plyler , S.C. market development manager for Waste Pro.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Trash bills for Port Royal residents, small businesses to remain unchanged for now, June 14, 2013

Beaufort County treasurer to consolidate, outsource services, Sept. 13, 2011

Local governments face hard financial choices, March 14, 2012

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