Peachtree City employees at the Oct. 2 council meeting got what they wanted. The council on a 3-2 vote adopted the provisions of the recent classification and compensation study at a cost of more than $900,000.
Pertaining to compensation, the council during the presentation was told that Peachtree City employees ranked in the 35th percentile in the recent study performed by Condrey and Associates when compared to a number of metro Atlanta municipalities and county governments.
The vote came with Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and councilmen Terry Earnst and Mike King in favor of the adoption and council members Kim Learnard and Eric Imker opposed.
King prior to the vote said “being in the 35th percentile is an embarrassment.”
Ernst agreed, saying “We have a chance to do something tonight.”
Imker in his comments said that while the current salary structure needs to be improved, he had hoped the vote could be delayed so that the flaws he found in the study could be addressed.
In terms of employees being placed in the 35th percentile, Imker said city staff are in the 90th percentile when compared to local governments within a 15-mile radius of Peachtree City.
“If placed in metro Atlanta we’re at the 35th percentile. But we live here. I’m not convinced we need to spend $1 million to fix (this),” Imker said.
Based on those and other issues with the study’s conclusions, Imker said the council needed more information before voting, though he acknowledged that “this isn’t going to happen.”
Learnard in her comments said there is no doubt that city staff are worthy of the increase that would amount to nearly $1 million, adding that there were things missing in the study.
“You’re worth it but I’m not ready to make a $1 million decision tonight,” she said.
Fleisch prior to the vote disagreed with Imker, saying that she was embarrassed about city employees ranking in the 35th percentile, citing as an example the fact that it took more than an year and a half to fill three landscaping positions.
“(City employees) deserve an up or down vote tonight,” Fleisch said in reference to the position by Learnard and Imker that the vote be put off until further information could be obtained.
City Manager Jim Pennington in a Sept. 24 letter recommended that the council repeal the 2000 Employee Job Classification and Compensation Plan and adopt the recently presented 2014 plan. Pennington recommended that the council on Oct. 2 adopt the unmodified Option B presented by Condrey and Associates.
“Since the general fund budget already includes $270,071 of funding towards the compensation plan, the FY 2015 budget impact of the new Employee Job Classification and Compensation Plan, Option B (unmodified), will be an estimated $640,354 based on an implementation date of Oct. 20. Additional funding needed for the compensation plan would be appropriated from cash reserves,” Pennington said.
Pennington said the Plan B option being recommended is based on the 50th percentile of the study and is slightly above the market average.
“When the last pay study was conducted in 2000, staff recommended the council consider approving the classification and compensation plan based on the 75th percentile,” Pennington said. “Given today’s economy, staff is conservatively recommending Plan B. While this plan does not solve all of the problems existing in the pay structure today, it does provide a new pay scale that is competitive in the relevant labor market and it further professionalizes and strengthens the administrative infrastructure of the city.”
Pennington said one of the issues impacted by the recent classification and compensation study has been the inability to fill some positions at the current minimum salary level. He said some new hires required having to go “way into the salary range” to accomplish.