Posted: 5:16 p.m. Monday, May 5, 2014

County to conduct new salary survey

By Denise G. Callahan

Staff Writer


Another phase in the Butler County compensation overhaul was approved Monday when a new salary survey was commissioned.

Butler County commissioners agreed to pay Clemans Nelson and Associates as much as $19,000 and $300 in mileage, to find out if the salaries of 643 employees who work under the commissioners’ umbrella are still competitive.

The county paid that firm $100,000 in 2010 to direct a major overhaul of the way the county paid its employees. The survey results have been implemented in fits and spurts. The consultants recommended 13 pay ranges — the county used to have 100 ranges — and some employees have been “redlined” for exceeding the range for their job classification, and 18 employees are below the range.

Human Resources Director Gary Sheets has said the study identified employees in the commissioners’ office who are being overpaid and underpaid, based on a survey of other similarly sized counties. Sheets said they have implemented salary adjustments through new hires and promotions, and two of his employees received pay cuts as a result of the study.

County Administrator Charlie Young said the firm will look at salaries in comparable counties and in the private sector. The goal he said is to examine the salaries every three years.

“They will test some salaries to see if our wage rates are still market-based, still appropriate,” he said. “We do not have built into our rates a cost of living adjustment, so in lieu of that, is this periodic review to see if inflation or other market-based compensation has changed either up or down.”

Commissioners in January unanimously approved a new performance-based employee evaluation and pay program that eliminates step increases.

Under a previous system, employees automatically got a 3 percent step increase, a 3 percent across the board increase, another 4 percent if they were promoted — Dixon says many people were — and an additional 3 percent was tacked on after they made it past the probationary period. He said it was not unheard of for someone to get a 13 percent pay bump.

The new survey is expected to be completed in three months. Under the new system Young estimated the county will save $18.5 million over 10 years.

Commissioner Don Dixon said the pay-for-performance plan gives the county “credibility.”

“We committed to our employees that we will keep a current, updated compensation plan that really has a direct impact on our wages,” he said. “And we made that commitment to taxpayers, so really it’s a win-win for both sides.”


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