Box 6, Folder 2, Document 25

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of the


JUNE 19, 1967



Report of the Consultants on Certain Personnel Problems
Relating to the Proposed Merger of the Fulton County -

Atlanta School Systems, June 19, 1967

This report deals with the implications of merging the certificated
and non-certificated personnel of the two current school systems — Fulton
County and Atlanta. The question of the soundness of the merger itself
was deemed to be outside the province of this study. The consultants
have proceeded on the assumption that a merger is contemplated; that if
effected, it is essential to unify personnel policies and practices, and
that specific procedures for dealing with the employee groups in the two
school systems should be spelled out.

Perhaps the two most important personnel problems that must be re-

solved if a merger is to be effected are the establishment of equitable

salary and wage policies and the determination of how present and future
pension and retirement provisions are to be administered.

Certain other policies and practices must also be unified if the
merger is to deal fairly with the employed personnel. Sick leave, insur-
ance provisions, and tenure regulations must somehow be brought into
harmony — otherwise morale will suffer and the objectives of the merger
will not be fully realized.

In order to obtain the data and information needed to arrive at recom-

mended procedures the consultants assembled, with the help of the Coordinator
of the Metropolitan School Development Council, pertinent published materials
from each of the school systems involved and they interviewed executives

responsible for the administration and supervision of the personnel policies.

Included in the list of those interviewed were:

the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Teachers Retirement System
of Georgia,

the Deputy Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Teachers Retirement
System of Georgia,

the Director of Finance for Fulton County Board of Education,
the Assistant Director of Finance for Fulton County Board of Education,

the Controller of the Atlanta School System,

the Assistant Controller of the Atlanta School System,

the Superintendent of Schools in each system,

the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel in Atlanta,

the Coordinator of the Metropolitan School Development Council,

the Director of Non-certificated Personnel in Atlanta,

the Secretary for the Atlanta General Pension Fund,

the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools, Atlanta.

Many official reports were examined together with policy statements in
an effort to learn the basis for existing practices. The fact that salary
policies were undergoing major revisions has been noted and the proposals
contained in this report take full account of these changes.

It should be pointed out that many personnel policies are subject to

revision almost annually, Salary levels in particular are very unstable
and inflation has forced boards of education and public boards generally
to boost salaries and wages more frequently than was true a few years ago.
Because of this instability any calculations of future costs are bound to

be unreliable, The best that can be done is to make what appears to be

reasonable assumptions and show their implications.
Salaries of Certificated Personnel
With the merger of the Atlanta and Fulton County School systems an

immediate concern of the several thousand individuals employed will be -

what will be my salary for next year? It is the opinion of the consultants

that a basic salary schedule should be developed for the certificated per-
sonnel of the merged systems but that such a schedule should be developed
only after the merger is consumated. The preparation of a salary schedule
that has good possibilities of wide and enthusiastic reception should in-
volve many people in its development. Representatives of organized pro-
fessional groups, area specialists and supervisory and administrative per-
sonnel should have a part in the preparation of the basic salary program.

Until the merger occurs, similar professional organizations will continue

to exist for both Atlanta and Fulton County. After merger, many organiza-

tions will be consolidated and at that time the new organizations may be

appropriately represented. The same situation obtains for representatives
of area specialists and the supervisory and administrative staff. A salary
schedule that could be recommended by consultants prior to the merger of
the systems and without the involvement of representatives from the new

groups would be premature, Therefore, it is recommended that after merger

a salary study committee composed of representatives of all certificated
groups and areas be appointed to consider salary schedules and salary
policies for the new system.

With the decision reached that any new salary schedules should be

developed only after merger of the systems, the consultants examined the

possibilities of what salary provisions might be best for immediate appli-
cation following the merger and during the transition period. The same
treatment, salarywise, of all personnel in the new system is a prerequisite
in determining salary policies for the new system.

It was found that the two salary schedules could be merged and after
careful review and examination the consultants came to the conclusion that
retention of the salary schedules of the Atlanta System and the placement
of the Fulton County personnel on the Atlanta schedules is the best solution
possible with the merging of the two systems. To make such a transfer from
one salary schedule to another it is recommended that the following rules
be applied:

1, No employee's salary will be reduced.

2, Teachers and other certificated personnel will be placed on the

appropriate 1967-68 Atlanta School System's salary schedule, on
the step stipulating a salary that is equal to or next higher in

amcunt to the current salary being paid,

3. Any Fulton County employee whose salary is higher on his present
salary schedule than it would be on the same step of the Atlanta
salary schedule will be paid this higher salary amount, but when

and if eligible in subsequent years he will proceed according to

the provisions of the appropriate salary scale.

For employees new to the merged system, a maximum of five years'

service in other school systems will be accepted on a year by year
basis. Such a person, with five years' experience, would enter on
step 6 of the salary schedule.

Salary scale incentives applicable to the Bachelor's and Master's
degree scales will be established following steps 4, 8, and 12.
Teachers will be allowed to proceed on these salary scales only

after completing six semester hours of approved college or university
credit, or its equivalent, in in-service programs approved by the
Board of Education,

To make the salary changes by the application of the above rules it was

estimated by the Coordinator of Metropolitan School Development Council that
the cost increase will be approximately $

During the transition period there should be established a salary study
committee, as indicated earlier in this section, to ascertain the adequacy
of the salary schedules and policies in operation and to recommend any

changes that promise to produce better salary arrangements, In addition,

a review should be made to ascertain whether or not individual employees
have been appropriately classified and given correct placement on the
salary schedules.
Wages of Non-certificated Employees

A similar approach is suggested for arriving at appropriate wage
policies for the non=-certificated workers in the county and the city school
systems. Atlanta has recently adopted a classification plan recommended by
the Public Administration Service. These schedules have been developed
after much study and it appears logical to fit the non-certificated school

employees from the county into the basic Atlanta pattern. There are differ-

ences in the length of the work year in some categories. This calls for
minor adjustments but is not a serious obstacle to unifying the two groups.
Bus drivers are employed in the county but are not employed by the Atlanta
School System. The current wages paid bus drivers should be continued for
the time being and the pay levels assessed when salaries and wages generally

are being reviewed.

In the case of custodians it would be necessary to reclassify the Fulton

County employees in order to achieve parity. This is not a difficult task
and if the merger is voted, temporary classifications could be made in those
cases where the job descriptions were not clear and final assignments made
after individual cases were reviewed.

According to estimates made by the Coordinator of the Metropolitan
School Development Council, the cost of bringing all the non-certificated
employees under a single tent if the Atlanta pay scales were applied is

$543,756. This assumes that no consolidation in jobs will be made and the

same number of employees are retained,
Retirement Provisions

Both Fulton County and the City of Atlanta maintain local pension and

retirement systems for their employees. This practice is of fairly long
standing and, as has been the case in other American cities and counties,
it arose because of the obvious need to provide employees with protection
against the vicissitudes of advanced age and the local community against
the inefficiency which results when workers, past the prime of life, are
retained on the job. e
Unfortunately the history of local pension plans has not been too
favorable. Even when they have maintained a solvent position, which many
have not, they have seldom provided the protection to new members that
was guaranteed by those established and administered by the State. Asa

result, they have rapidly diminished in number and state plans have sup-

planted them. The latter because of larger memberships, the spreading of

risks, and greater resources, have supplied the certificated staff with

superior protection, Moreover, state employees! retirement systems are
increasingly providing coverage for the non-certificated employees in
school systems.

The problem confronting Fulton County and Atlanta with respect to
pension and retirement is not unlike that found in many other systems.

The funds required represent a tremendous investment and the accrued lia-
bilities run into millions of dollars.

The ultimate solution in the minds of the consultants lies in moving
the responsibility as quickly as possible from the local system to the
State and the abandonment of any local retirement for new certificated
personnel, This cannot be achieved guickly nor painlessly. While the pro-
posal to merge the two school systems poses some knotty problems with re-
spect to employee retirement, a reasonable solution can probably be worked


With the merger of the two systems, it is recommended that the

policies with respect to retirement and pension provisions listed below

be adopted by the various boards concerned:


All new certificated personnel will secure membership under

the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia.

All new non-certificated personnel will secure membership in the
social security program provided under the Federal Insurance Com-
pensation Act.

All certificated personnel who are members of retirements systems
operated by either the Atlanta General Employees' Pension Fund
Board or by the Fulton County School Pension Board may withdraw
their personal contributions to their pension fund if and when
they become members of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia.
Members of the retirement system operated by the Atlanta Pension
Board who wish to continue to be covered by the provisions of
such board may continue their membership, and the Atlanta Pension

Board will continue to administer and be responsible for all

pension liabilities for such personnel as required by their cur-

rent commitments, Future changes in pension benefits will be
available to such members,

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners will assume all obliga-
tions, liabilities, and commitments of the Fulton County School
Pension Fund Board,

Members of the retirement system operated by the Fulton County
School Pension Board may at their option transfer their membership
to a new Fulton County pension system to be administered by the

Fulton County Board of Commissioners or its designate and retain

all of the rights and benefits they heid under the system oper-
ated by the Fuiton County School Pension Board.
Commitments for members who have retired under the pension systems
operated by either the Atlanta Pension Board or by the Fulton
County School Pension Board shall have all such commitments
honored by the Atlanta Pension Board or by the Fulton County
Board of Commissioners respectively.


The practice of providing group iife and personal accident insurance

for employees is commendable and should be continued. It is recommended


1. Employees of the Atlanta and Fulton County school systems who have
retained their school system sponsored insurance policies and who
are retired will have their benefits and vested rights under their
policy protected by the Atlanta City Board of Aldermen and the

Fulton County Board of Commissioners, respectively, and such boards

will manage and make any annual payments due insurance companies

that exceeds the amount required of the employees under the pro-
visions of the policy.
At the time of the merger, group life and personal accident in-
surance contracts be cancelled and a new contract agreement be
entered into with a commercial company that wiil provide the best
policy at the lowest rate.
Job security should not be placed in jeopardy for an employee of the
two school systems because of the merger. It is recommended that:
1. Tenure policies for the new system be established for the

several classes of personnel employed and that the policies


for each classification be these now extant in either the
Atlanta School System or the Fulton County School System that
are more generous to the individual employec.
Employees holding tenure in either of the two systems concerned
at the time of merger be automatically provided tenure in the
new system,
Any probationary period served in the two systems concerned and
prior to the merger of the two systems will be accepted at full
value for tenure considerations in the merged system.

Leaves of Absence and Vacations

The emoluments and rights earned under provisions that now exist for

the personnel in the Atlanta and Fulton County schools should be protected,

It is recommended that the provisions that are most generous to the em-
ployees, that now exist in either of the two school systems concerned, be
adopted for the new merged system with respect to sick leave, maternity

leave, bereavement leave, military leave, professional study leave,

emergency leave and vacations.

With the merger of the two systems, it is anticipated that changes
will be needed in both accounting and personnel records systems. With
modern office equipment and electronic data processing machinery, the work
of business, accounting, financial and statistical offices can be handled
with dispatch. Moreover, information on personnel can be secured in as
many ways as needed in short periods of time. In order for the new system
to be able to function efficiently, it is recommended that as soon as the
merger is voted, specialists in systems data processing be employed to plan
for the merging of data of the two schocl systems together with progiams

for fast retrieval of such data,


Combining the Central Office Staff Personnel
A merger nearly always requires some consolidation of central office
personnel, Hence, the procedures for determining how the unified system
should assign the current central office employees needs to be spelled out.
The two systems as might be expected have several comparable central

office positions and in some instances the merger, in the interest of

economy, might necessitate the assignment of certain officials to posts
outside the central office, This fact together with the need to reassess
existing assignments calls for the exercise of both judgment and diplomacy
on the part of those charged with the responsibility of building a new
central organization,
The consultants believe that the wisest procedure to follow in
merging the two central staffs is as follows:
1. The new Board of Education should choose a superintendent of
schools for the system and an associate superintendent.
The Board of Education should appoint a committee to make recom—
mendations as to the assignment of personnel to the new system
central office positions, This committee should be composed of
the superintendent of schools, who should act as chairman, the

associate superintendent of schools, and two officials current~

ly responsible for the recruitment, selection and assignment of

personnel in the two systems being merged.

The officials currently responsible for the recruitment, selection
and assignment of personnel should make recommendations to the
superintendent of schools regarding the assignment of secretaries,
clerks and custodial workers needed for service in the central



In making assignments, consideration should be given to the
age, experience and personal fitness of the individual
employee for the job to be filled.

All central office employees should be housed under one

roof and adequate facilities should be provided to facilitate

the work.

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