Monday, August 24, 2015

UPDATED: Personnel Board Seeks Council Action on Pay Matters

Fairhope, Al.
Howard, Stankoski, Erdoe facing.


Updated Aug. 25th: The mayor has asked the Personnel Board to make recommendations about the 12 maxed-out employees -- and one department head who's job apparently has no pay range at all.

The city's personnel board met including three newly-appointed members: Robert Stankoski (replacing twin brother Clark), Jenny Erdoe and Lorenzo Howard (a former member who decided to return): They discussed the need for the city council to act soon to update the city's compensation and job classification system.

First adopted in 2012 after two years of working with consultant Evergreen solutions,  the city had no pay grades or job classifications before then; pay was "based upon the individual person, not the job they were doing."

(In the past raises were given for reasons like "getting married" or having more children.)

The new plan provided job descriptions, pay grades and salary ranges for every job in the city -- for the first time.

Howard's June presentation to council

About three months ago, Mayor Kant asked HR Director Heathcoe and  Board members Diane Thomas and Lorenzo Howard to update the new system by comparing Fairhope's  pay ranges and grades to those of other comparable cities around the county and state; the findings were a 3% boost of the midpoints of every range was needed to conform.

 Such periodic maintenance should be done routinely; the plan has guidelines for doing so.


As in 2012, the study-update found employees here are still generally paid more than in other comparable cities; but problems have come up implementing the new classification system and pay ranges.

One issue mentioned by the board is the practice of rather than terminating an under-performing employees, just moving them to another position in a lower pay grade -- but retaining the higher pay from their former grade, thus skewing ("compressing") the range for others already there.

Also, the 20 or so part-time employees at the minimum end of ranges would need to be increased 3%, but only by about 2 cents /hr each: a  total cost of only of only $1870/yr. to the city annually.

Another bigger problem is the 12 or so current employees who are already maxed-out: their pay greatly exceeds their grade even with the 3% mid-range increase.


The board's Chairperson Thomas said she was told the mayor had pulled the issue from the agenda because he thought the 3% was not enough; and how to handle the annual COLA raises for the 12 maxed-out individuals is his primary concern.

Howard said that could easily be taken care of easily with a "one time merit raise" instead of the COLA  each year-- and normal attrition and retirements would eliminate the problem entirely someday. (He also mentioned the possibility of initiating an early retirement plan.)

(Thomas said the one-time-raises proposal was not received well. )


Howard said raises given the past three years were much more generous than in most other cities -- and city leaders needed to let them know if they were having trouble understanding the plan; Thomas proposed a workshop with them to better-explain the issues involved, if it would help.

Thomas said even the 3% being proposed would actually pass the mid ranges of most other cities, some who gave no raises at all the past 3 years;  if no action were taken and raises still given generously every year, eventually all employees will move through their ranges fast and become maxed-out at the top of their grade's ranges.

Council liaison Kevin Boone told the board he was in the dark and had no conversations at all about it with any of his cohorts on the council: He did not know why it had not yet come up for a vote.

 A workshop may be helpful, but Boone was not sure about that either.


Thomas said that since the city council controlled the city's purse strings it is their responsibility to "keep the city on target .... operating within the pay system."

She realized it would take a while before the system could be fully implemented -- but it was better now having one in place than none at all (as before).

If truly dis-satisfied with the current system they could always hire another consultant to redo the plan from scratch, she said


Anonymous said...

Boone knows nothing about anything, just like most of the rest of our useless city council.

What are they doing to earn their pay?

Anonymous said...

In the private sector a business would quickly go under with this type of sloppy accouting.

Anonymous said...

These are the reason employees are leaving or retiring as soon as they can. The changes made to insurance and the lower pay, when they can go down the street and get better pay for the same job.
Part of the reason is just like the school teachers, the higher up gets huge % raises while employees that have done all the labor jobs get a few pennies.
Also the last council did nothing for these employees that why they are have not kept up with other cities. Only the last few years employees have gotten cost of living with the new council.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Diane Thomas about cost of living raises. It is nice that employees get something, better than nothing. But the ones that do not deserve anything should not get anything. The ones that work hard every day should get there share.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, just know that alot of times I see many city employees in city trucks/etc just kind of loafing. Maybe because they don't feel like they are getting what they deserve? Also see alot of employees congregated around a job that could probably take a lot less men power. As the old saying goes - how many people does it take to change a light bulb? Most of the time, I think the employees do a great job to keep this city where it needs/wants to be.

Anonymous said...

The cost of living actually went down or stayed the same during the great recession beginning in 2008. So why give cola raises then? No other city did and many laid off employees.

the rising cost of gasoline was cited as a reason for giving raises anyway then , but it is now at record lows .

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, 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.  Gas prices have only dropped around a dollar in the past year even though oil is at a record low, but the cost of living which include food, utilities and education has not dropped even with the lower fuel prices.

Anonymous said...

the cost of groceries always tracks with that of fuel because so much of it (diesel) is used in harvesting, shipping to stores, etc. and it is lower now than 4 years ago as well as gasoline.

Both are usually not considered at all when computing annual cost of living raises because they are so volatile.