Clintonville adjusts employees’ salaries
Compensation study prompts changes
By Bert Lehman
Salary adjustments for Clintonville city employees will amount to about $75,000 in next year’s city budget.
The Clintonville City Council approved the new salary structure for city employees on Oct. 9 after a discussion in closed session. Few details were released to the public.
Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland recently shared information with the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette about a compensation study that the city commissioned and how it impacted city employees’ salaries.
Eveland said one of the main tasks the city council asked her to pursue when she was hired as city administrator was to conduct a compensation study. The council approved hiring a firm to conduct the study for a cost of around $13,500 in early 2018.
The study compared city employee salaries with salaries of similar positions in communities of similar size. It also developed job descriptions for each city employee position, Eveland said.
“We had some [positions] that didn’t even have job descriptions because we have employees who have been faithfully serving the community for 30, 40 years, so some of them just didn’t exist,” Eveland said. “There was an overhaul of that as well. It also includes a performance evaluation piece that we’re still working on.”
She said the performance evaluation portion of the study should be completed by the end of the year and presented to the city council in January.
“Typically you wouldn’t implement or make changes until the entire program is done, including the performance evaluation,” Eveland said.
Eveland said the compensation study has taken longer to complete than anticipated, partly because the city’s information was out of date.
Because the project has taken significantly longer to complete, Eveland said the city council approved the salary adjustments so they could be included in the 2019 budget even though the evaluation portion of the project hasn’t been completed yet.
The city council saw the results of the compensation study before approving the salary adjustments, Eveland said.
When asked why the entire compensation study discussion took place in closed session at various meetings, Eveland said the council discussed specific employees and their positions, so the discussions had to take place in closed session.
“We highlighted some [employees] because there were a couple positions that were significantly underpaid,” Eveland said. “There were a few individual positions that were discussed because there was such a drastic difference between what they were currently being paid and what the salary schedule would recommend.”
Eveland said the majority of city employees received “relatively” small salary increases as a result of the compensation study.
“I’m talking a few hundred dollars,” Eveland said. “Some didn’t even hit the $100 mark. We’ve had a few positions that are seeing $25 to $50 for an annual increase as a result of the compensation study. I don’t want the community thinking we’re just going out and giving a whole bunch of money to everybody.”
One city department head received only about a $50 salary increase, Eveland said.
“There is one employee who is going to be receiving a very large increase of about $15,000,” Eveland said. “A lot of that has to do with the fact the position is sorely, sorely underpaid based on comparable data. In fact, this position in a city that’s close enough to very easily commute to was being hired earlier this year. I was very concerned when I saw what they were paying, that we would potentially lose this person. The starting salary for someone who barely met the qualifications was $10,000 more. But that was the extreme.”
Eveland said that a couple of employees received salary increases of a few thousand dollars. She added that her salary increase was around $430.
Unionized members of the Clintonville Police Department were not part of the compensation study.
The last couple of years, city employees have received only cost of living salary increases.
“I don’t think that we’ve been able to keep up with inflation,” Eveland said. “The other thing we haven’t been doing is really taking into consideration longevity and experience.”
Eveland said she believes that the salaries of employees just starting with the city should not be as high as salaries of employees who have been with the city for many years.
“The salary schedule allows us to be able to differentiate, and potentially allows that person who might be just starting out to eventually be getting paid more than somebody who has been here longer because they have consistently outperformed,” Eveland said. “The plan for how we are setting this up, it’s still being finalized, is to allow for us to start acknowledging those performances who come in and bust their tails everyday.”
Moving forward city employees will have performance evaluations every year, Eveland said.
When asked why the salary adjustments were done all at one time rather than being phased in because of the many needs of the city, Eveland said she was concerned about losing employees because they would be able to see the results of the study.
“On a personal level I would feel undervalued and underappreciated,” Eveland said. “We have so many employees that work so hard taking care of the city and what nees to be done.”
In addition to the salary adjustments based on the compensation study, city employees are also scheduled to receive a one percent cost of living increase in 2019.