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City will examine pay scale

11/7/2012

By DAWNE LEIKER

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

A wage and benefit study is in the works for the city of Hays and will be considered by city commissioners at their 6:30 p.m. Thursday meeting at city hall.

The study, which is conducted by the city every three to four years, is hoped to help ensure the city's pay scale is competitive within the market, human resource coordinator Erin Niehaus told commissioners at last week's work session.

"Are we providing great benefits compared to everyone else, average benefits or are we well below the standards?" she said. "Also, if we are well above the standards, do we need to take a step back?"

City staff is recommending the study be done by Organizational Development Services, the company that performed a similar study for the city in 2009. Results from the 2013 study are hoped to be complete by mid-April.

"So we can utilize it before union negotiations next year," said City Manager Toby Dougherty. "And we did indicate to the unions at last negotiations that this would be our intent, to do a wage and benefit study."

Additional raw data is being requested for the current study, Niehaus said. Instead of providing lump sum data for fringe benefits, staff is requesting fringe benefits be broken out separately into such categories as paid time off and health insurance.

Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV said he saw the selection of Organizational Development Services as beneficial to the city. Other consultants throughout the years often have provided the city with data that was difficult to use.

"Every time, it's not what we wanted," Schwaller said. "It's not in a format we've understood.

"Now we have somebody we kind of like, and the price is within a range we're comfortable with. It's nice to know what we're going to get."

Dougherty agreed, and said past consultants have, against the city's request, created entirely new pay plans for employees and also have made assumptions based on faulty data. In those instances, the city was unable to fully use the studies.

"Against our better judgement, they did try to reinvent new pay scales ... new ranges," Dougherty said. "When we specifically asked them not to. We ended up not using them that much."

Other agenda items are:

* Consideration of approving a bid from Berry Equipment Co. for concrete crushing.

* 2013 employee health insurance coverage.

* A 2013 statement of legislative priorities.