West Chester administrator gets 3 percent raise, one of 100-plus employees awarded a boost

The West Chester Twp. trustees will spend up to $190,000 this year on employee raises, which are based on a merit plan that caps increases at 4 percent.

The trustees approved the raise pool Tuesday and agreed to give township Administrator Larry Burks a 3 percent raise after evaluating him in executive session, according to trustee board President Mark Welch. The $4,050 raise increases his annual salary to $139,050. The trustees still have to vote on his increase.

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“We think he is doing a great job, he’s out in the community, he represents West Chester well, but you know you’re not the top after the first year,” Welch said of Burks, who joined the township last year and didn’t get the top 4 percent raise. “We felt like with the work he has done, nobody’s performance review is perfect.”

Welch said the trustees believe 3 percent was fair.

“We felt like a 3 percent raise was a good thing to give him and he has something to work for in the future,” he said.

The highest raise among township directors went to Finance Director Ken Keim, who received the highest raise available 4 percent bump, bringing his salary to $103,699. Other directors’ raises were between 3 and 4 percent.

Burks told the trustees that with turnover nearing 20 percent, the township wants to make sure they compensate their employees competitively.

“In 2017 the turnover rate increased to 18.3 percent and professional expansion and wage treatment were the primary reasons for the separation,” Burks said. “The pool is approximately 113 employees and the estimated range of the increase is $163,000 to $190,000.”

The township’s performance pay policy took effect in 2006 for all non-contract employees.

“Everything is measurable, we watch this very carefully,” said Trustee Lee Wong. “The highest they could award is 4 percent, it could be zero if you are not performing, or you could be out the door. This is really a good system.”

Trustee Ann Becker said the merit pay plan not only keeps finances in check but motivates employees.

“I think merit-based pay is the best way to encourage our employees to perform to our values and standards but to reach out and do something new, to innovate,” Becker said.

“We can give someone a raise who has come up with a great idea or help push someone up who might need a little bit more training. I think it’s a great way to motivate and keep our employees at the top level that they already are.”

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