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Monday, October 8, 2012

Pay Step Report on Legislative Matters Agenda for Tomorrow


The Legislative Matters Committee will continue conversations on a report that recommends a pay step program for non-union employees in Somerville that, if approved, could result in significant pay raises for some of those employees in an effort to put them at market rate for their job.

Created by the the Umass Boston Center for Public Management and recommended by the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board, a report was presented to members of the Board of Aldermen detailing a new pay step system that could result in significant pay raises for some Non-Union employees. The meeting was hosted by the Legislative Matters Committee and took place in September.

Admitting that Somerville is great at training, but not retaining, the report points out that the city is considerably behind other communities when it comes to compensating their employees. A pay step system, insists the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board, would pay listed employees at market rate and assist the city in keeping their talent.

The Center for Public Management reviewed job descriptions and, most importantly, job behaviors for some employees and compared them to equivalent positions in other communities before creating their report.

Currently, Somerville has a 27% turnover rate for employees. Resigning workers have gone on to higher-ranking positions in other communities, making more money based on the training and experience they received while employed in Somerville. Cities researched included Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, and Newton. At first glance, these towns may seem as though they have more resources to pay their employees higher than a community like Somerville, however, these were included as they are Somerville's competition when it comes to attracting talent. It is some of these communities that Somerville employees have left the city for.

One of the major components of the pay step system is a performance evaluation program that carefully guides employees with goals and expectations that, if achieved, could result in up to 3% pay increases. Whether merit raises are issued during the budget year will be at the discretion of the Mayor. Implementing the system will also allow employees to see what the next salary steps are.

The system itself features grades and numbered steps that, if approved, would place employees based on their current pay, years of service, and years in their current position. The report also recommends including 1/2 steps that would allow slight pay increases for employees who are exceeding at their job, but aren't quite delivering for a full step increase.

If the plan is implemented, some employees could see pay increases upwards of 18%. These increases would put these employees on the same playing field of comparables doing similar job functions in other communities according to the report.

The meeting is set for October 9 at 6pm in the second floor committee room of City Hall.

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