COUNCIL MEETING NOTES. June 20, 2022. 6:30 p.m.
Inflation and policies for justifying pay increases are leading to a cascade of higher labor costs in the county. Inflation is a tax that affects ALL citizens.
Higher part-time Labor Costs. The ceiling for a part-time hourly wage was raised to $16.00. It was in the 9-10 range. The purpose was to compete for workers in this pay range.
Cost of Living. County employees have routinely received an annual cost of living increase – it was 3% last year. This year, many county employees received a $2.00 an hour premium pay increase that will be paid over the next two years. These were employees that worked with the public during Covid.
Pay Grade Increases. County Departments had until the end of June (or the June council meeting) to justify any increases in pay grades and salaries. The council then reviews and tentatively approves pending a final review and approval during the budget hearings. Judge Wertz provided a justification for increases for three positions. She identified the work requirements and pay comparisons with surrounding counties.
Policy – Pay Comparisons. When he was on the Council, Keith Baker led a 2018 salary study that compared pay levels with counties of similar sizes to Brown county. He also added in the benefits package. The county was at the top of the list for pay and benefits. The Health Insurance benefits for example are probably among the best in the country. Link to the study below. County employees criticized the study after Keith’s term ended. They want to compare salaries with the surrounding and larger counties that have much larger budgets. Larger budgets lead to higher salaries, more competition for positions, and likely higher education and experience requirements.
Exceptions. Over the past year, county truck drivers and sheriff deputies received increases in pay and salaries. Turnover and a cost/benefit analysis justified the higher pay. These are positions where specialized training and certifications are similar to the positions in other counties.
Better Practice. Pay Levels – Workload Analysis. In determining pay, there are standard practices that rely on more than just anecdotal information. The process starts with an accurate job description that should identify the essential functions, tasks, and responsibilities. The required skills, knowledge, and abilities should align with state laws and regulations for the respective area. Tasks are broken down followed by time-motion studies. The education and training requirements are also identified to determine needed educational levels. This process also supports contracting out functions that become even more cost-effective with improvements in technology.