Legislative raises hit WCU paychecks

Faculty and staff at Western Carolina University have been seeing higher paychecks since July following the N.C. General Assembly’s passage of a budget that includes an across-the-board raise of 3.5%. Coupled with the 2.5% raise included in the previous budget enacted Nov. 18, 2021, that’s a 6% increase in less than a year.

School systems still hiring

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, school systems across North Carolina are struggling to fill a wide range of positions. Schools in the western part of the state are no different, and every school system in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area has several positions still open. 

Haywood budget shows staffing needs, rising costs

As the completion of Haywood County’s 2022-23 budget draws near, it’s becoming apparent that inflation, the tight labor market and ever-increasing health care costs are conspiring against the county to the point of potentially impacting staffing, especially in public safety.

UNC System sees surge in employee turnover

Since July 2021, institutions across the University of North Carolina system have been experiencing massive increases in employee turnover — and Western Carolina University is no exception.

Up to the fight: Cherokee’s new police chief aims for big changes

Josh Taylor is seven months into his job as chief of the Cherokee Indian Police Department. Asked how it’s going, he pauses, clasps his hands together atop the table, and leans forward.

Sylva Fire requests funding for more paid staff

Sylva Fire Department is requesting funding from Jackson County for the salary of additional paid personnel in the split paid, volunteer fire department. At a March 10 commissioners meeting, Sylva fire chief Mike Beck made his case.

Commissioners will expand EMS staffing in Haywood

A month ago, Haywood Emergency Medical Services Director Travis Donaldson pleaded with Haywood County commissioners to adjust schedules and raise staffing levels. Last Monday, commissioners gave Donaldson what he’d been asking for, in a unanimous vote. 

Saving our lifesavers: Donaldson pleads for help

A comprehensive assessment of Haywood Emergency Management Services completed in 2019 suggested that aggressive shift schedules put employees at greater risk for sleep disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide. 

Swain County Schools faces recruitment, retention obstacles

In the midst of the third school year affected by COVID-19, school systems are keenly aware of the stress the pandemic causes for staff. Teachers and support staff alike have left their positions in record numbers as the occupation changes at breakneck pace, and Swain County Schools is doing what it can to identify obstacles to recruiting and retaining teachers. 

Macon to spend millions on new pay plan

After spending the last several years discussing the need for an updated pay scale, Macon County commissioners recently approved spending close to $9 million over the next three years to increase county employee pay. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.