Friday, July 3, 2015

City Employee Pay Grades Re-evaluated

Fairhope, Alabama.

Lorenzo Howard

Personnel board members Diane Thomas, Pandora Heathcow and former member Lorenzo Howard presented the results of an update-study of the city's salary structure and classification system.

Howard, who chaired the personnel committee when the original study was completed in 2011, gave the presentation.

No longer on the personnel committe, the mayor asked him to help with the pdate: all city committee members serve without any compensation for themselves.

The 2011 study by Evergreen solutons, L.L.C, put in place salary ranges and job-grade classifications for the first time: before that there weren't any.

Since almost 3 years have passed and "a lot has changed" the plan needed to be upgraded, Howard said.

He added later it really needed to be upgraded "continuously" in the future.


Howard highlighted basic principles for a successful salary system:
Howard, Heathcoe, D. Thomas

1. Pay must be based upon job descriptions, not the people filling the position.
2. All jobs must have a pay grade and range.
3. There must be an upper limit on compensation for each job.


Some of the current problems ("opportunities") the study identified:

1. The need for a system for establishing new positions.
2. Some positions are mis-classified relating to overtime pay: exempt vs. non-exempt.
3. Several employees lack the required certifications/credentials for their jobs.
4. Job grades for two department heads are mis-classified.
5. Some employees have exceeded the maximum limit for their pay grade.


Howard summarized with three main recommendations:

1. To comply Fairhope's pay scales (ranges) to what is happening elsewhere in the county,  a 3% increase of the mid-point for every pay grade (10 - 32).

2. Correct exempt, non-exempt mis-classifications to conform with federal wage and hour laws.

3. See that all employees have the necessary credentials and certifications for their job.

A fourth came up during the discussion that followed: A formal  process is needed to establish new positions/pay grades, perhaps by the personnel board; no such criteria (formula) was provided in the original study.


Council President Burrell asked HR director Heathcoe to work on the last two; the city council will have to vote to incorporate the pay-range boost in the FY 2016 budget (begins Oct 1st).

Burrell was quick to emphasize this is not to be confused with the yearly cost of living raises employees traditionally get here (or less-numerous merit raises): those raises would have to be
enacted independently by the council.

He also mentioned eight new positions this city council was asked by the mayor to create in 2013, even though there was no "scientific method" in place for establishing newjobs/pay grades: "We just did them."

Mayor Kant replied that's what is being done now (establishing criteria).

He also said the the exempt (from overtime pay) versus non-exempt employee classification problem needed to be straightened out ASAP -- because the federal Wage and Hour Board "doesn't play around." It may involve back (overtime) payments being made to balance the books, possibly in lump sum form -- or pay reductions in other cases.

Thomas said that if the 3% range-boost were to be implemented about 40 positions would then fall below the minimum for their grades. Mayor Kant said those are mostly part-time jobs and the extra costs to the city would be only about $2,000 total.

Personnel board member Diane Thomas concluded that "a salary system is only good if you stay within the ranges ... start exceeding some ... why not for all employees as well ... ? "

"Pretty soon, you won't have (pay) ranges at all any more."

Howard agreed.

Mueller, Kant with backs to camera


Anonymous said...

I surely hope they all know what they are doing with the citizens money.

Anonymous said...

The only employees that are at the rates that other cities are the Police. Don't get me wrong, police should be paid good to keep the good ones. But if you compare Fairhope to a similar city like Auburn, pay is below in there mid grade positions.

Anonymous said...

The bonus that the city always had was the insurance, but since the old council and Obama care tax it has changed big time. They lost dental, and now every copay has doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled. These changes have caused many employees to go ahead and retire, or leave because that is no longer the bonus to stay. The city was built on young employees with lower pay, good insurance that is what kept them from going to other cities around here. Now even supervisors making more money than anyone else are leaving. The council is doing a good job but they have not caught up with all the problems that the group caused before them. Employees got 1 bonus in 4 years, cut dental and fought with the mayor the whole time, the employees were the one being hurt by it. Even when the council now gives a cost of living the hourly employees never catch up because they are so far behind.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Please prove you're not a robot 

Anonymous said...

Have you been living on another planet?

Sure, it is easy for the phony politicians to blame it all on someone else rather than grow up and take responsibiity themselves for a change, pass the buck.

Ever hear of the Great Recession of 2008 - 2011? The cost of living actually went down here for several years but some folks here still demand their big raises anyway at tax/utility bill payers expense, who got no colas at all for several years (retiree's social security).

Anonymous said...

Since 1975 social security has had a cola every year except 2009, and 2010. At times it has not been much but has gotten colas.
Not to be disrespectful, but using you on words what planet have you been on?
The average cost-of-living increase over the past decade is about 26 percent. This means that an item purchased ten years ago would have cost about 26 percent less than it costs to purchase that same item now.
So do a little research before you just start running your mouth.