Mayor Asks Council for Pay Plan Changes
Left, Aldermen Randy Stroik (left) and Mike O’Meara. O’Meara has been one of the most vocal on the City Council in requesting further information on a new pay structure created for city workers. (City-Times photo)
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Common Council meets Monday night to consider changes to the city’s new pay plan requested by Mayor Andrew Halverson.
The city hired Madison- based consulting firm Carlson Dettmann last summer to conduct an in-depth study of city worker duties and salaries, and then plug that data into a matrix to determine how city employees were paid compared with a list of comparable cities. City leaders agreed the move, which provided raises for many in city employ, was a necessary step in renovating the pay structure in a post- Act 10 work environment.
But the process was marred from the beginning when Council Members complained the sample comparison presented by Carlson Dettmann was confusing. Council Members also took several weeks to debate the list of comparable cities provided by Halverson- which created delays approving the 2014 city budget- but finally agreed to remove three cities they felt weren’t comparable to Stevens Point due to size, equalized value or demographic makeup.
Later, Council Members said they wanted specific details on how Carlson Dettmann reached the end result of the study, but company officials said that information was proprietary.
The new pay plan went into effect at the beginning of this year.
In a memo to the Council, Halverson is asking city representative to alter that pay plan by reinstating the previously excluded cities- Eau Claire, La Crosse and DePere- to the list of comparables, as well as adding Sun Prairie.
By adding those cities to the mix, Halverson said the average salary from that list of comparables against which Stevens Point measures its pay structure would increase, thereby increasing local average city salaries.
Halverson is also recommending the Council increase the city’s pay scale to 90 percent of the mean average created by that list of comparables- an increase of 2.5 percent from what they previously agreed to.
“We are now off from key communities around the state that would naturally be competitive for current employees, and for recruits potentially to vacant positions we may have in the future,” Halverson wrote in the memo. “The averages are lower plain and simple, and due to the fact we were collectively considerably lower prior to implementation, that compounds to create a worse situation for many of our employees who started at step one.”
The request comes after dozens of city employees filed appeals over the new pay plan earlier this year, arguing they were misclassified either in job weight or pay grade. As a result of the new pay plan some positions received an increase in pay, and while other positions were found to be overpaid, no wage decreases were implemented and no jobs were eliminated.
Alderman Mike O’Meara has said city leaders can’t equitably review those appeals without knowing how Carlson-Dettmann arrived at each of the job grades.
“I’d like to see his work product and how he rated (job) skills and duties, because it is a public record; it does have value to the people making the appeal. We hired him- he’s doing work for us and that makes it public record,” O’Meara said, adding city employees only get one chance for an appeal and not having the information he requested could mean an unfair appeals process.
The Council will debate the potential changes to the pay plan 7:15 PM Monday at the Lincoln Center, 1519 Water Street. The meeting is open to the public.