West Chester Twp. approves raises for non-union employees

West Chester Twp. trustees approve new pay range minimums and give 24 non-union employees raises totaling $51,000 over two years.  FILE

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West Chester Twp. trustees approve new pay range minimums and give 24 non-union employees raises totaling $51,000 over two years. FILE

West Chester Twp. trustees recently approved about $51,000 over two years to give 24 non-union employees raises.

Officials say the township is facing numerous retirements in coming years and a market in which fewer people are seeking public service jobs. They had budgeted $30,000 to hire an outside consultant for a market study but decided to do the work in-house, comparing the township’s pay ranges to other governmental entities and the private sector.

Assistant Township Administrator Lisa Brown told the trustees at their last meeting the township had anecdotal evidence an adjustment to the minimum range was warranted. The township has budgeted about $23.5 million for wages in 2021.

“The intent behind the study wasn’t to give some big, across-the-board raise,” Brown said. “We specifically looked at non-director and pretty much non-supervisory positions, to ensure those positions are fair and comparable. Those are our hardest positions to fill and those are people we expect the most from, they do a lot of that behind the scenes work that you don’t see.”

ExploreWest Chester Twp. sets some double-digit salary range increases

The data analysis produced not only the pay range adjustment but new pay categories for administrative professionals, finance professionals and human resources specialists and revisions to the organizational chart.

The township hired Clemans Nelson for about $43,000 in 2016 to do a market study mainly for the higher-end positions in the township. Increasing the top salary ranges for some positions resulted in a total cash outlay of $51,560 in 2017 after the study was complete.

Trustee Mark Welch said keeping their pay ranges current is critical because officials will need to be able hire new people and competitive salaries are imperative.

“You expect turnover in any organization but what you don’t want is massive turnover,” Welch said. “Kind of what we’re facing here in West Chester Twp. is there’s going to be quite a few people I consider invaluable on our staff, who are reaching that age where they’re going to say I’m going to retire and we need to start bringing in new talent.”

Township Administrator Larry Burks said having Brown and her team do the project gave them a deeper understanding of their employees and how their jobs compare to other similarly situated positions.

Trustee Ann Becker liked the fact Brown and her team took a deep dive into the employee records in order to be able to compare apples-to-apples and set the ranges appropriately, according to the current job market.

“For these unsung heroes it was a great opportunity to say we value you, we want to know what you do on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Trustee Lee Wong said the money is being well spent.

“We expect our employees at every level to deliver the best,” Wong said. “These adjustments are an investment in our organization just as important as infrastructure and other aspects of our community.”

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