Council eyes employee pay

Xavier Smith • Feb 12, 2018 at 8:06 PM

The Lebanon City Council work session mirrored sessions two years ago as a familiar name returned to discuss the city’s employee pay.

Steve Thompson, of Burris, Thompson & Associates, joined the group, along with Lebanon Human Resources Director Sylvia Reichle, to discuss the city’s employee pay as it compares to the job market and competitive cities.

“He did a pay study for the city a couple of years ago, and we engaged with him to refresh that pay study. Obviously, unemployment rate is low. The economy is good. This area’s population has increased. There were a lot of factors that prompted us to want to look at our pay and make sure that we are still maintaining our competitive edge,” Reichle said.

Thompson highlighted that many municipalities have started to raise employee pay in recent years in response of the rise of the economy and in an effort to pull and keep potential employees from the private sector.

Thompson compared Lebanon to benchmark cities, some of which were the same from the 2016 study, and the average pay in the job market to determine how the city pay fared in terms of actual pay and job pay range, the lowest and highest possible pay.

“We did that and determined there were about 32 jobs for which there’s a big discrepancy between the market rate for the position and the current pay range,” Thompson said.

In response, 27 of those jobs received a bump in pay range. The other five jobs did not receive a bump based on other factors.

The move brought the city’s overall employee pay ranges to 97 percent of the market, with 100 percent the ideal position.

Thompson said the study revealed that about 50 percent of city employee’s salaries fell between 85 to 101 percent of the market, which he said is competitive. Thompson said about 50 employees had salaries that fell less than 80 percent of the market rate, which makes them a risk to seek other employment.

Thompson said a pay increase of 2 percent would keep the city competitive with surrounding areas, which Reichle supported. Seasonal employees would also see a pay increase from $11 to $11.50

The increase would cost about $629,000 for an entire fiscal year, which starts in July, but the adjustments would cost about an additional $90,000 if the city decides to start in April, which is a possibility.

The council will vote on the pay adjustment during the next council meeting or the first meeting in March.

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