Archive for Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Council approves new pay plan for city employees

November 29, 2006

The days of the city having a confusing pay plan are, it's hoped, in the past.

At Monday's Tonganoxie City Council meeting, the council voted 5-0 to adopt the new pay plan prepared by City Administrator Mike Yanez.

The vote followed last week's special work session in which council members reviewed and revised the pay plan.

"We have presented this to the employees and work force and have heard nothing but compliments from people as far as a fair pay plan," Yanez said last week.

A major adjustment from the previous plan was a change in starting wages.

"The first difference is that starting wages will be at a market place level," Yanez explained. "For years Tonganoxie city employees were paid at well below what other communities paid their employees."

Current employees also will have their pay adjusted to the new scale.

Other highlights of the new plan include:

  • New employees serve a six-month probationary period. If the employee has a "satisfactory or better" rating during the evaluation after the six months, the employee is granted "regular status" and moved to the next pay step.
  • Regular employees are eligible for annual merit raises with the same "satisfactory or better" status, which allows the pay rate to move to the next step in the scale. A "less than satisfactory" evaluation rating means employees stay at the current pay step.
  • A cost-of-living increase also will adjust all pay scales. For example, every pay scale would change 2 percent if that's the determined cost-of-living adjustment.

Yanez said the council also wanted some flexibility in starting pay offered to new employees. Under the new plan, department heads cannot offer higher than a "C" step in the pay scale. The scale runs horizontally from "A" to "N," with A being the lowest wage and N the highest. Vertically, the scale is numbered from 1 to 14, with 1 being the lowest rate. Some titles, as far as ranges, include heavy equipment operator at Range 5, police sergeant and utilities supervisor at Range 10 and police chief and city superintendent at Range 14.

"It provides a level playing field for all the employees," Yanez said. "They know what they'll be paid for today and future years to come."

That should translate into less confusion come budget time.

"Right now we have pay rates all over the place," Yanez said. "Right now we're going to put them on a firm range and step to fit into the pay plan grid."

The new wages and salaries will be effective as of Jan. 1.

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