Compensation study presented to Greensboro City Council

Human Resources director Connie Hammond and consultants from two firms presented their findings from a compensation study that began in late 2010 to city council and staff in two separate meetings on Feb. 16.

Among the findings of the study is a recommendation for implementing compensation increases to make Greensboro's compensation packages, including benefits, more competitive with comparative cities and municipalities. The total cost of the proposed increases comes out to $1,697,347, which would bring compensation and benefits to the 50th percentile with comparable cities but would not include a reduction in compensation for employees who are above the target range.

Only three city council members showed up for the first presentation — Nancy Hoffmann, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Nancy Vaughan — though Zack Matheny slipped in about 20 minutes after the presentation was supposed to start.

Hammond said a compensation study like this hasn't been done in 20 years, so it isn't surprising there is some adjustment necessary. The study compared Greensboro to 22 cities for the study, which made the cut by being within 300 miles, having a population of over 100,000 and a metro area of between 100,000 (like High Point) and 1.8 million (such as Charlotte). Most of the cities were in North Carolina and Virginia, with a few in outlying states.

The comparison compensation study was completed using "benchmark jobs," meaning specifics of which specific positions are above or below the target compensation rate is still being calculated and should be completed next month. Matheny said he would want to see specifics of which jobs would be impacted before he voted on it.

Vaughan asked interim City Manager Denise Turner Roth if the increases could be incorporated into a "no tax increase budget," and was told a rough estimate of these costs was already factored into the budget council has been discussing.

"The job market out there is not great — I am personally experiencing it," said Matheny, who is currently unemployed besides his council position. "All of city’s employees would love a raise and our constituents may say 'Why are you giving them a raise? They should be happy to have a job.' There is a lot of education that needs to go into this."

The city is below the target range around the 50th percentile for five benefit categories, including wellness incentives, disability benefits, paid holidays, education assistance and retiree medical over 65. The city is one paid holiday behind its target range.

Abuzuaiter said the proposed increase in wellness incentives could save the city money on health insurance in the long run, which a presenter confirmed but said it would take approximately three years before the savings were visible.

The city is within its target range in five other benefit categories and above in three: dental, life and medical insurance. In general, the city's compensation rate was closer to the goals than in benefit categories, with 10 general categories falling within the range while two are above and three are below. Longevity, probationary increases and take-home patrol cars were all below the target compensation range.

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