The chief administrative officer must receive at least the minimum salary stated under T.C.A. § 8-24-102. If two or more CAOs are elected or appointed with equal duties, the compensation is divided equally between them. T.C.A. § 54-7-106. The legislative body may at any time increase or decrease the salary of the CAO as long as it is maintained at or above the minimum salary level. T.C.A. § 54-7- 106. The salary of the CAO must be at least 10 percent greater than that of the general officers of the county. T.C.A. § 8-24-102(g).
The CUHL places authority over county highway department personnel with the CAO. The CAO may employ qualified administrative personnel necessary to handle correspondence, maintain accurate records of receipts and expenditures, equipment, supplies, materials, maintenance performed, and other items necessary to operate the highway department. The CAO determines the total number of employees (within the limits of the available budget), personnel policy and work hours, job classifications, and policies and wages within the classifications. The compensation established should be consistent with pay in similar services in the county and surrounding area. T.C.A. § 54-7-109. In addition, the wages must comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act regarding minimum wage and overtime compensation as well as other federal and state statutes dealing with personnel.