Salisbury City Council Hopes To Improve City Employee's Pay - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Salisbury City Council Hopes To Improve City Employee's Pay

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SALISBURY, Md. – 80 percent of Salisbury's nearly 400 employees earn less than the midpoint of their pay ranges. The study came out earlier this month, but at Monday's city council meeting, city officials discussed the study for the first time.

City council paid Evergreen Solutions LLC $40,000 back in February to conduct the study, and at Monday's meeting, the company provided a series of recommendations. First, they suggest that the overall pay scale should be increased to a little over eight percent. From that point, employees would go should through a three phase process of getting their raises. The first step would be getting the employees that are not at the minimum pay grade and move them to their minimum. After that, all city employees will have their pay adjusted to make sure that it's within a step that is on the pay grade. Finally, all employees pay will be moved within their market value. However, in order to make sure the data stays relevant, the changes need to happen in under three years maximum.

"Once we start getting out into the four or five or six year period away from these results, then we're already starting to slide backwards," says Acting City Administrator Tom Stevenson. "We need to make sure we do this as quickly as we can."

However, how quickly the city is able to do this depends on the funding. The recommendations would cost the city $750,000. Stevenson says they believe they have the available funding now if they choose to break up the costs over a period of time, but the future is unclear.

"It's just about whether we can do it going forward, and we have to be careful not to set ourselves up for problems down the road."

"Even if we do that over a three year span that's 250,000 additional each year," says Councilwoman Laura Mitchell.

Council members say the Public Works department had the lowest compensated officials within the city of Salisbury, but they are also the largest department in the city.

"They cover everything from the zoo to the streets, so they're going to be a huge chunk of the $750,000."

This year, the council was able to give city employee's a two percent increase. In addition, they were able to give the police department $700,000.

"We had to provide those raises for the police department in order to retain them, because they were going to take higher paying jobs elsewhere."

Stevenson says they are confident they can at least help the minimum paid employees this year, and city council officials plan to continue their discussion at their next work session on September 2nd. As of now, they do not have a set timeline to implement any changes.

"The simple fact is we may not be able to do it, but we're certainly going to try."

Stevenson says he is not fearful that people will leave. The study found that Salisbury employees have an average tenure of 10 years, which is about three years higher than the state and midatlantic region. However, Mitchell is still concerned.

"I absolutely think it needs to happen, or we will continue to lose good people to other jurisdictions, because they need to be paid what they're worth."

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