The Jackson County Personnel and Bargaining Committee discussed a new plan Monday that would move salaries for county employees towards a standardized step system in preparation for a complete overhaul of the pay-for-performance plan next year.
The current pay plan, which was installed in 2013, brings employees in at a salary range below the midpoint pay for the position. Within about five years and good reviews, the employee would eventually reach the midpoint. After the employee reaches the midpoint, the pay raises are limited and cash or time off bonuses may be utilized.
The committee has been discussing changes to the system for several months and is now reviewing examples of possible plans.
One possible plan being discussed was presented on Monday and it would hire employees at 87 percent of midpoint and then methodically step employees to the midpoint in five years as long as the employee had a satisfactory review every year. After midpoint, the employee would get a 1.5 percent raise every two years and then an additional retention incentive rate at years 18, 25, 30 and 35.
Since this plan would need to be fleshed out by the committee, Jackson County personnel director Diane Peterson suggested a plan for next year that would setup salaries for this new system.
“If everybody across the board gets 1.84 percent (cost of living increase), no steps, nothing, the amount would cost the county $64,000. With the budgeted amount being $82,000, that allows $17,000 available for step increases,” Peterson said adding that in order to get any increase, an employee would still need a satisfactory evaluation. “Then I went through and made the adjustments to get them to either the percentage they should be at or the maximum six percent they are allowed, so that would cost the county an additional $10,000, so we would still be $7,000 under budget.”
This plan would be the basis for the full plan going forward, but also give the committee more time to discuss the details.
“This is a holdover for this year and then as we work January through hopefully budget time next year, we will decide what we are going to do,” Peterson said.
Some of the details that still need to be ironed out include considering when the county should provide raises, getting a full comprehensive comp study completed and making sure they have the correct step percentages in place.
This new plan was shared with the department heads and they appeared to like the idea.
“This is what the department heads were looking at. They wanted to make sure that everybody felt appreciated, that everybody was getting something,” County Board Chair Ray Ransom said. “They actually do not want evaluations tied to pay.”
The committee also hopes the employees will like the new plan as well.
“I think the employees will like this process more and it seems fairer to them,” committee member Jon Chrest said.
This new system and the exact cost of living increase for next year is expected to be enacted for 2018 at the next committee meeting in November.