County takes look at fair payDouglas County is taking an in-depth look at the how it compensates employees.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Douglas County is taking an in-depth look at the how it compensates employees.
Douglas County’s Administration Committee is recommending the Board of Supervisors consider forming a panel to review compensation for its employees.
County Administrator Andy Lisak said the board approved a $25,000 in the administration budget for a compensation study.
“What we would like to do is go ahead and basically have the study prepared,” Lisak said. As part of the process, he said he has been working with the county’s human resources person, Linda Corbin, to identify consultants.
The compensation study committee would serve as a steering committee to make sure the process is transparent to those with a stake in the outcome of the study — the county’s employees.
The committee would have 10 to 14 members and would be similar to the panel that helped keep county employees abreast of efforts to develop personnel policies after Act 10 eliminated employee contracts with most county employees.
“I would like a committee that would be a kind of cross section of the county,” Lisak said.
The panel would include members of the Douglas County Board, department managers, supervisors, line staff and possibly a couple members of the public, Lisak said.
The goal is to have the panel guide the county through the process and provide a venue to keep employees informed about the process.
Responsibilities would include seeking proposals from consultants that provide compensation studies, and provide guidance through the process.
Lisak said the committee would meet about once a month and the work could be accomplished by August.
“A lot of the work on the RFP process has already been done,” Lisak said, adding that consultants have been identified. “This committee structure will help us keep this process open and have people from different perspectives provide insight.”
Supervisor Sue Hendrickson questioned the need for the study.
“As an employer, we want to make sure our wages are fair and equitable,” Lisak said. “We want to make sure as we go forward we have some sort of plan to adequately compensate our employees.”
Lisak said the goal is to find out where the county’s wages are when compared to the market and get that information by the time the county begins planning its 2014 budget.
While the county has had some issues with line workings earning more than supervisors when they earn overtime pay, he said it’s not an issue that’s come up often.
He said the fact is that with a comprehensive study of compensation the county hopes to learn if its wages are fair, equitable and competitive.
“Why is that important?” Lisak asked. “If you don’t pay people with at least the market average, you’re going to see high turnover. We’re seeing that in some positions and we want to address that with all of our positions.”
Lisak said there have been past studies that targeted specific employees and the most comprehensive study that was done took place in 1999.
His goal is to implement the recommendation of the study.
“We want to make sure that we keep well-qualified and dedicated employees here,” Lisak said. “We don’t want to pay too much, but again, we don’t want to undercut.”
Administration Committee Chairman Dan Corbin asked if compensation was one of the issues the county is facing in filling positions in the health department.
Lisak said the county’s had difficulties hiring in health and human services.
“We’re thinking that’s the case, but again, you want to be able to verify that,” Lisak said.