County approves job reclassification, pay schedule

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mower County employees could see their salaries change, following a reclassification of jobs and a new salary structure adopted by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Employees will see the changes reflected in their next paycheck. The changes are also retroactive to Jan.1.

Michael Verdoon from Fox Lawson and Associates presented the final study and recommendation to the commissioners on Tuesday.

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The firm was hired to gather information about the current salary schedule, survey staff, assess market data and create a new salary structure.

Verdoon said salaries, while competitive, were still 1.1 percent below market.

And the structure, said Verdoon, “really needs adjustment to move ahead.”

Verdoon recommended the board adopt the new salary schedule, and do a salary survey every three to five years.

The study harkens back to the mid-1980s, when a state law, the Pay Equity Act, required public agencies to balance pay inequities between genders.

The county since that time has conducted intermittent studies to keep re-evaluating its salary and classification structure.

“There is a misconception that this is about just ‘giving everyone a raise,’ when, in fact, it is about the equity relationships,” said County Coordinator Craig Oscarson. The last study was in 2004.

This study showed there were 54 employees who were below the salary minimum for their job classification, and four who were above the maximum. Those below the minimum will be brought up to the proper class and pay; the four who were above will be frozen in pay until performance and years of service comes in line to the higher pay.

Those between steps on the salary schedule will be brought up to the higher step.

All told, the study and shift will cost close to $500,000, said Oscarson.

Human Resources Director Sherry Roth said she felt the study was worthwhile and thorough, and thanked the Fox Lawson representatives for their work and the county employees for their input.

She was particularly happy with the change in corrections, public health and dispatcher personnel classifications and higher salaries, whose jobs have been difficult to fill.

“This will make a big difference,” she said.

Commissioner Tim Gabrielson, who is part of the personnel committee, told the board that the committee also recommended adoption and implementation of the new salaries and schedule.

He also extended thanks to Roth and her staff, and the representatives from Fox Larson for their work over the two-year period.

“It was a lot of work – and I think for the better,” he said.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

•Veterans: Reappointed Wayne Madson to the position of Veterans Service Officer. He will serve a four-year term.

The commissioners told him he was doing a good job, echoed by other commissioners.

“All I hear is praise,” agreed Gabrielson.