STEVENS POINT, Wis (WSAU) - The Stevens Point City Council continues to take small steps towards implementing the recommendations of a recent employee pay study. Those small steps have now created a big problem: The city is not yet ready to place staff compensation figures into a 2014 budget that’s supposed to be unveiled next week.
Mayor Andrew Halverson is frustrated with the Council’s lack of timely action on the pay study issues. “The Personnel Committee, in my opinion, has delayed action on this for so long that it’s now presenting a real scenario where we have a budgetary problem that they created. Not the administration, the Personnel Committee approved hiring a consultant for $25,000 and now apparently wants to single-handedly decide how we’re going to do the study. If we wanted to do that, we should have had an ad-hoc committee, paid them nothing, and got it done.” The council had hired the Carlson-Dettman consulting firm to evaluate their pay grades and make recommendations, but many council members don’t believe the comparisons from other municipalities are appropriate.
Alderman Jeremy Slowinski’s motion to accept comparisons from Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Neenah, Superior, Watertown, Wausau, and Wisconsin Rapids and reject comparisons using De Pere, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Sun Prairie passed on a 6-5 vote.
This change means Carlson-Dettman is going to need a couple of weeks to resubmit figures based upon the comparable cities authorized by the City Council. Halverson says they will put a placeholder in the initial budget presentation for $170,000 for salary adjustments, but they need to quickly get the real numbers before adopting the budget. “We are clearly going to be delayed. I just hope it’s not enough where it affects the timeline for the personnel committee meeting in November, and then the council meeting in November, which is where the budget has to be adopted. It’s one thing to go through the budget presentation, but when you get to the budget adoption, it needs to be a final document, and that’s what we cannot delay.”
Halverson says the study showed several management employees are underpaid, and a handful of other workers are overpaid based on comparable positions in other cities. He says the $170,000 set aside in the budget will not come close to getting underpaid staff up to competitive levels, and it could take a few years to get there.
Mayor Andrew Halverson's WSAU interview can be heard online here, in our Newsmakers Interview podcast.