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Wood County wage study data, methods explained Monday


WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WSAU) -  A wage study performed last year in Wood County has supervisors wondering what they can do with the collected data. The County Board hired Carlson Dettmann Consulting at a cost of $60,000 to closely examine county job descriptions, and compare the pay and benefits to the private market and to other counties.

Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Ed Wagner says now they are studying the data collected by Carlson Dettmann to see what they should do next.  "What we were doing tonight is we were gathering information.  There were tons of questions about the details, how this worked, where it worked, and we had to satisfy ourselves that the process the consultant went to was sound and unbiased."

Wagner says the committee learned a lot Monday night, like how the job descriptions were scored and weighted, how pay scales were calculated, and how data from other areas was used to determine the market rates.  "There was a lot of information here tonight.  Really, too much to digest in one sitting, so I think we're going to have to sit down as a committee and have a very frank and open discussion about what we heard, and what we think about it, and we want to do with it."

Wagner predicts that the wage study will get back to the full County Board, but doesn’t expect a county-wide pay-for-performance proposal.  "You heard a lot of talk about the pay-for-performance.  I don't think there's going to be a pay-for-performance from what I'm hearing from the committee.  There's going to be some hybrid, I think.”

The study showed that many Wood County positions on the lower end of the pay scale are pretty close to market rate, but they have a handful of upper level positions that are higher than similar positions in the private market.

The recommendation was to implement a pay for performance structure, and to combine several similar jobs into the same classification. The consultant recommended cutting the current 59 pay grades down to 19, and reducing some of the 190 job classifications. The County Board rejected the recommendation 12-7 in December.

Wood County’s Ad Hoc Committee studying the wage data meets again Tuesday to discuss what they learned from the consultant Monday night.