Archive for Monday, June 4, 2012

Basehor City Council pondering new wage system for employees

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

June 4, 2012

As the time to produce a 2013 budget approaches, the Basehor City Council took its first look Monday night at a possible revamping of how city employees are paid.

A proposed new wage system, presented by Interim City Administrator Lloyd Martley at the council’s work session Monday, would eliminate the rigid pay matrix used now by the city in favor of a more flexible pay range for each position, with pay ceilings much higher for many jobs. But Martley said the proposal was just a rough outline to get the council talking.

“All I was looking for tonight was just for the council to say, ‘Yes, this is kind of what we were looking for,’” Martley said. “‘Now bring us the rest of the project.’”

At a planning retreat in May, council members discussed installing a new wage system, with Travis Miles saying pay for some positions was inadequate and Brian Healy calling for performance-based raises. The city’s current pay matrix simply gives each employee an automatic 2.5 percent pay increase every two years.

In response to that discussion, Martley put together his proposed system, which simply sets minimum and maximum wages for each job. Those amounts were mostly higher than the corresponding limits in the city’s current pay matrix, but Martley said all of the city’s current employees would fall into the ranges without receiving raises.

The maximum pay for some positions increased by as much as about $14 per hour — roughly $29,000 per year. Martley said the amounts were based on regional surveys of wages at other cities.

The ranges would allow for employees to receive raises based on performance, Martley said. The city has not done that in a number of years, he said.

“It gives that opportunity to finally start recognizing employees for all their performance issues,” Martley said.

Mayor David Breuer said, though, that before the city settled on a new pay system, he would like two council members to study the issue more closely. It’s too complicated for the council to address at one or two work sessions, he said.

“It’s a little difficult for us all to really get a handle on it,” Breuer said.

Members Brian Healy and Vernon Fields volunteered to work with the staff on the issue in advance of the council’s budget process later this summer.

A change may be in store for city employees’ health benefits in 2013, as well.

Martley also presented a resolution that would reverse a council decision made in 2011, capping the city’s contributions toward employees’ health, dental and vision insurance. According to the resolution, the city would pay for 100 percent of premiums for employees and 50 percent of benefits for their spouses or dependents.

That was what the city did before the council capped contributions in August 2011, as proposed by then-member Dennis Mertz. That measure passed by a 3-2 vote, and all three members who supported it — Mertz, Iris Dysart and Fred Box — are no longer on the council.

Martley said that if the caps remain in place as insurance costs increase, employees will face an effective pay cut.

“Their paycheck will go down,” Martley said.

Eliminating the caps will cost the city about $6,000, he said. Employee benefits are funded entirely by the city’s mill levy. But the benefit fund is projected to have a balance of about $91,000 at the end of the year thanks to a surplus, Martley said, so no property tax increase would be required.

Martley said the change would likely affect the city’s budget only in 2013, as the city’s health benefits in subsequent years will be subject to the health-care reform law, requiring a re-evaluation anyway.

Also Monday:

• During a special meeting prior to the work session, the council approved, 5-0, a resolution setting a public hearing for June 18 regarding the assessments for two improvement districts approved in 2008, along Basehor Boulevard and 155th Street.

• The council discussed the possible annexation of some properties east of 155th Street on Pinehurst Drive.

• The council entered into two executive sessions, lasting 30 and 20 minutes, with Martley and City Attorney Shannon Marcano to discuss matters relating to attorney-client privilege and nonelected personnel.

Comments

Thinkaboutit 2 years, 6 months ago

I missed the meeting but it looks like a lot was talked about. Keep up the good work guys!

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johninbasehor 2 years, 6 months ago

I, for one, am glad to see the council working on pay and benefit increases for our police officers and their families. Any time you put your life on the line every day for your job and the safety of the citizens in your community, you need to be paid adequately. It is very refreshing to see the council take a position that will stop the drain of experienced police officers from the city of Basehor. We definitely do not want to keep being a training school for police officers leaving to other jurisdictions for more money and better benefits.

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eugenestoner 2 years, 6 months ago

As a citizen and employee I agree, however all of the employees in Basehor deserve competative pay and benefits. The non-management, public works employees and city staff are woefully under paid and they deserve recognition as well. I am sure you would agree and I hope this system accounts for them too. I greatly appreciate that the P.D. is always mentioned but others are just as deserving. Thank you very much for being the voice(s) of support during the recent tumultuous past. Looks like smoother sailing ahead and these discussions by the council are a positive step forward. . It is a shame that many of the city and police employees on the lower end of the current scale can't afford to purchase a home and live in the city they serve. Maybe that will change some day.

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AboutTime 2 years, 6 months ago

City employees hit the lottery, the hand picked council by the default Mayor will do NOTHING to stop this nonsense. Yes, the title should be "EMPLOYEES HIT LOTTERY"

All above commenters are government employees. Of course they approve. What a joke. Where do I apply, a $14/hr raise, yipeeee.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 6 months ago

Two of the three former council members that have left the council were actually too old for the job. When you are seventy-five years old, you get sticker shock when you buy a gallon of gas or milk for a baby. Gas is no longer 25 cents a gallon, nor milk 39 cents a half gallon. These members of the horse and buggy generation didn't realize what it costs to maintain a family and housing in this community and decade. What is wrong with paying a livable wage to police with decent benefits? AboutTime seems to think that our police officers pay is like winning the lottery. If $14 an hour is such a great wage to be in the cross hairs of the crooks, then why is there such a turn over of officers going to other jurisdictions for more money? AboutTime needs to apply for one of these jobs if it is so easy and pays so well, or maybe he or she needs to sit back a shut their pie hole.

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Thinkaboutit 2 years, 6 months ago

Abouttime.... I am not a basehor employee. However I am a Basehor resident that appreciates what the city employees do. Basehor is not a cheap place to live, but you expect people to put thier lives on the line to protect you when the officer's themselves can hardly afford to live here? Well whether you expect it or not, they sure as hell do it everyday! So next time your with your family on a holiday remember they are watching your house while your gone. Missing their family to protect yours! All for about $16 per hour, unless the old council policies stay, then they will make less because they have to pay for more of their insurance! The only joke I see here is your ignorance! It's not hitting the lottery, it's getting what they have deserved for years.

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Ronald Grover 2 years, 6 months ago

Let's try to be professional. Lack of professionalism seems to have been the root issue for all of this mess for the last year.

By profession I am a Director of Human Resources. Granted I do not work in the public sector but it is not difficult to seek information on comparable salaries on line, just look at salary.com. From that website it will show what police patrol officers are making in the KC area. Let's see how Basehor stacks up. The median salary for a "routine" patrol officer 12-18 months experience is $48,889 annual not including bonus or benefits. This is just base pay. If you look at the salary sampling you will see pay ranges from $16 per hour to over $32 per hour for the same position and responsibility. Statistical data for the sampling can be also be found on this page.

Secondly, merit pay is considered the most effective pay method in private industry. You'll only find set pay systems in most union shops, teachers and many government jobs but private industry does whatever it can to stay away from these antique and ineffective pay systems. Where do you think the old saying "it all pays the same" comes from along with the associated attitudes and behaviors. If you want exceptional performance you must have a pay system to reward exceptional performance.

I am hoping that the city leadership is being progressive and moving forward. Basehor is a good place to live even though I do not live within the city limits. I know there are a lot of people want Basehor to remain a one-horse town and fall further and further behind. Now is the time to capitalize on Basehor's assets. We must open our area to new experiences and to do that we need to begin acting like a first class community.. It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel. look at the success stories of Leawood, OP, Shawnee, etc. Follow the model and yes it will take money, the old saying is true, "got to spend money to make money". Look what happened to KCK when everyone decided they want to race to the bottom in the 70's. It has taken decades for them to begin pulling themselves out.

Another cliche to keep in mind, "You get what you pay for."

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Ronald Grover 2 years, 6 months ago

ps.: I only used a patrol officer as an example position. You can find most every position of work on this website to get a starting point for compensation design.

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