10/13 Budget Hearing: Salary Ordinance

2010 City Civil Budget

Notes from the Fort Wayne City Council Budget Hearing on October 13, 2009.

This post covers notes Salary Ordinance discussion. The Salary Ordinance may be downloaded here.

Valerie Ahr, Deputy Controller is presenting.

Councilwoman Liz Brown is asking about classifications and who determines them.   Val is responding that a contractor was hired in 2007 to explore the system.  An independent consultant is factoring the positions for non-union employees in the City.

Who decides who gets what classification which determines the pay.  Controller Pat Roller is now at the table explaining the processes used.

Some talk about if employees are at the max in their classification, how adjustments will be made.  Are the job descriptions matching the quality of work being done?  Talking about implementing raises across the board vs. each job.

Councilman Tom Smith  – What happens to people that have performance bonuses?  It’s only union employees that have it.  Tom is suggesting City should stay  away from performance based raises.

Councilwoman Karen Goldner – asking about work to compare public sector pay to private sector.  Goal is to make sure City employees are being paid fairly, yet not over the private sector.  “I think the pay in City government has caught up to the private sector.”  Karen is asking if the comparable positions are being paid similar amounts.  There were very few over the max for their classification.  About 25-30 employees, approximately.  Property tax supported employees are not as many.

Councilman Pape – Is the plan to give every employee a 1.5% rate increase?  They haven’t made the decision over whether or not to withhold it from those already maxed at their classification.  Councilman Pape doesn’t think it’s a good idea to treat every employee the same.  Tim thinks that all should  be considered.  Those with better performances should be rewarded more.  The pot is increased 1.5% and spread from there, not necessarily 1.5% across the board.  “I hope we’re finding ways to reward outstanding performance.”  That’s how we increase productivity.

I think you’re doing a disservice to citizens overall to not give city workers a raise due to economic conditions.  Question is how do we get the best government for the value?  Sometimes it means paying certain individuals more.  If certain employees can take on more, means less employees, should be rewarded.  Look at performance of organization overall.  I hope we’re getting to the point of treating people as individuals and increasing the pool of money available for raises overall.  Are we having fair, competitive pay.

Councilman Mitch Harper – Looking at retention.  What is the turnover rate of City employees?  My sense, Controller Roller speaking, is that it’s stable and low turnover.  I also think that the skillset needed to accomplish the tasks of City government is more complicated than before.  And we’re doing it with less employees.  This has been an evolving process and is an on-going conversation.

Councilman Glynn Hines – process used to be where department head had a pool and made decisions – what happened?  Human Resources doesn’t historically report to the Controller.  There is an on-going process to look at the performance evaluation process.  Pat Roller doesn’t really know when or who made the decision.  Implementing pay for performance is difficult.  Two groups of teams are working on performance review evaluations – how they are filled out, how do we hold managers accountable.

Councilman Pape – it’s hard to hold managers accountable when everyone get’s the same amount.

Councilman Tom Didier – when pay cuts are taken, performance goes down.   Not in favor of across  the board 1.5% increase.

Controller Roller – we need to find out where the two groups are at.  Let me come back to you with a more formal report.

Liz Brown – did everyone’s salary stay same last year with the Council not giving raise?  Pat – I think everyone’s did.  I think there were two employees who did receive raises because of added job responsibilities due to attrition and other assumed duties.

We were looking at a 1.5%  increase across the board.  We don’t allocate salaries per employee, just the amount overall.  The intent right now is that the 1.5% will go to everyone.  But would like to change this in the future.  Need to make sure the City of Fort Wayne remains competitive, without paying too much.

This ordinance applies to only non-union.  Is it the Mayor’s intent going forward to do performance based increases?  Yes.

Councilwoman Goldner – Taxpayers buy services with their property taxes.  Government’s responsibility is to provide quality services for the money.  HR Consulting company, 48% of businesses froze salaries, 2% last year.  Smallest increase in 33 years.  Typical non hourly workers will see their salaries bumped up 1.8%  I don’t think 1.5% motivates employees.  I think we “delude” ourselves by thinking 1.5% is going to motivate employees.

Liz – what motivates comes from the top down.  We don’t do pay-for-performance like the private sector.  Karen’s stats don’t give an idea of how many businesses went out of business, nor benefits  packages.  People are well compensated in this administration.  Comes down to the Administration and employees we hire.  Health insurance will cost employees 15% more.

Tom Smith – plenty of other places we could have spent $1.3 million.  Could have spent it on Calhoun Street.  Could have given more of an increase, but need to start looking at choices made.

S-09-09-28 – Karen – non-union only.  Comments on Police pay.  City of Fort Wayne’s pay drops lower than any other City than Gary.  At 10 years, under Indianapolis, $10,000.  We’re not paying our cops more.  Does it include benefits?  (Liz)  FW officers generally pay more for take-home cars than any other community.  Indy is pegged to price of gas.

Liz – discuss just the grid classification.  All that is being locked in is the amount of people that can be hired and classifications.  Fire decreased by 1.  Police, et. al., increased by 6.

Karen – is there a difference in non-union positions?  only 1 decrease in Fire.

S-09-09-28 vote – 8-0, Marty Bender abstained – passage out of committee.

Related Images:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here