Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:
• Confirmed Mayor Mike Allison’s appointment of Great Bend Police Lt. David Bailey as police chief.
• Approved a proposal from Arthur Gallagher, a human relations consultant from Kansas City, Mo., to complete of a compensation study of the city for $31,725.
• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the change order for Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita in the amount of $14,900 for the Eighth Street pavement improvement project. The original contract for the design work that was approved was for $47,500. With the change order, the total design cost would be $62,400, Interim City Administrator George Kolb said.
• Approved the broadcast of City Council meetings on the city’s public access cable channel for a six-month trial period.
• Changed the date for next regular council meeting from Monday, Jan. 1 (New Years) to Tuesday, Jan. 2. The meeting time will be 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1209 Williams.
• Approved an abatement at 701 Morton St. for accumulation of refuse, owned by Keith and Juanita Reimer.
• Heard a report from Interim City Administrator George Kolb.
• Heard an update from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes.
For the first time since 1999, the City of Great Bend will undergo a comprehensive wage and compensation study, a divided City Council decided Monday night.
The council voted to hire Gallagher Benefit Services, a human relations consulting firm from Kansas City, Mo., to complete study at a cost of $31,725 and the firm estimates it to be completed in three months. It will be done in time to prepare the city’s 2019 budget.
The idea for such a study was born of the police department controversy and the need to bring Great Bend Police Department pay rates in line with other communities, Interim City Administrator George Kolb said. But, they realized it needed to be more extensive.
“There were complaints from other departments,” Kolb said. So, it was expanded to include all city personnel.
“The cost is on the high side,” he said. But the cost is based on the number of trips to Great Bend by Gallagher employees, so the price could be lower.
This is a “strong proposal,” Kolb said. “This involves interviewing department managers, looking at the structures of each department, how those compare with other City governments, as well as conducting a thorough analysis of job descriptions for each position and making recommendations.”
Even with the pricetag, “this is a small price to pay.” Kolb said, adding the information learned will be important to the city. Kolb said the city also contacted Austin Peters out of Fort Collins, Colo., but it declined making a proposal since the city is in transition for a new city administrator.
Councilman Brock McPherson questioned the move. He said it part of an organization’s human resource manager’s duty to track wages and compensation and asked why the city’s new HR Director Randy Keasling isn’t doing this work.
“This is very complex.” Kolb said. Besides, being new to his post, Keasling has his hands full with the day-to-day needs of employees.
Kolb said the the study was not included in the city’s 2018 budget, but there are funds available to pay for it with 2017 money.
“I thought this was something we should have done long ago,” Councilman Dana Dawson said. But, since the city now has an HR director, he agreed with McPherson that Keasling should handle the job.
It was the same committee that interviewed the applicants for a new police chief considered proposals for the study. It included Mayor Mike Allison, council members Vicki Berryman and Joel Jackson (both of whom will remain after January), City Attorney Bob Suelter, and department heads Community Coordinator Christina Hayes, City Clerk Shawna Schafer, Public Lands Director Scott Keeler and Public Works Director Charlie Suchy.
The matter passed on a 5-2 vote with Council members Allene Owen, Jackson, Jolene Biggs, Berryman and Cory Zimmerman voting yes, and McPherson and Dawson voting no.
The firm’s primary objectives for this project include:
• Conduct an analysis of all job classifications.
• Conduct an external pay analysis of comparable organizations in the relevant labor market.
• Design and implement an easily administered compensation system that will be externally competitive and internally equitable.
• Conduct an impact analysis to determine the cost to implement the system within an appropriate time frame.
• Ensure the compensation structure and system is consistent with industry best practices.
• Develop an easily understood salary administration manual that outlines compensation policies for new hires, promotions, etc.
To this end, Gallagher will:
• Provide the City with the average and median market rates of pay for each position that is successfully matched as well as the average minimum, midpoint and maximum salary range amounts.
• Develop a cost impact analysis identifying employees who will be affected by implementing a new structure. Gallagher will also work with the city to develop effective strategies for implementation.
• Develop a salary administration manual outlining the methodology, outcomes, recommendations, compensation policies, procedures, etc. used by the firm.
• Submit a final report containing methodology and outcomes.
“It is critical that the project has a proper introduction that allows for a meaningful assessment of the city,” the proposal reads. This will involve completing the following:
• Establish and lay out initial objectives, project plans, establish finite time frames and logistics, etc. In addition, conversations with human resources will lead to a better understanding of the city’s culture, philosophies on key issues, and will help Gallagher identify strategies and methodologies to address compensation concerns.
• Interview key management staff to obtain a better understanding of management’s philosophies and compensation concerns.
• Gallagher will conduct an analysis of each job description to properly match the jobs with like jobs found in the relevant labor market. This will also serve to identify any inconsistencies in internal equity as it relates to reporting and peer relationships.
The compensation survey
• Gallagher will develop a special survey in order to gather data from the relevant municipalities.
• In addition to the special survey, Gallagher will also conduct a market analysis using published survey data. During the market review, Gallagher gathers average salary, median salary, and salary range minimums and maximums.
• Gallagher will group the positions into logical clusters. In this process, positions in the market that are paid similarly will be grouped together to establish one rate of pay for the group.
• Positions that are not successfully matched will be evaluated and placed into the hierarchy created by the market review process.
• After discussing the draft report with the city administrator, Gallagher will meet with each department head in order to present the results. At this time, department heads will have an opportunity to further understand the process and clarify any potential changes.
• Gallagher will develop a pay structure impact analysis that will identify those positions for which the new salary structure might require immediate adjustment. Gallagher will determine the potential cost to implement the new system.
• Gallagher will assist the city with developing strategies to bring employees up to the minimum of the ranges and ease salary compression with minimal financial impact within a reasonable timeframe. Gallagher will also conduct an analysis to determine the impact of the Department of Labor’s pending Fair Labor Standard Act rules.