All of our city employees work incredibly hard and deserve to be paid a wage that is fair and equitable. Over the past few weeks, we have heard a lot about salaries for our city employees -- in particular our fire department. I want to assure you, that appropriate salaries for city employees is something we are keeping an eye on and continuously addressing. We are working toward a solution that does not just stop at the fire department. With the budget we recently passed, we included an average salary increase of 3 to 3.5%. I realize this is just a start.
The city is in the process of a pay study that will help us to determine where we fall short both across departments and in the marketplace. I have included some information about the current stage of the study below as provided to the council in July. This effort is a big undertaking for the city and one that has been needed for some time.
Once complete, this will allow city staff to ensure that individuals are paid fairly across the board while remaining sustainable with the city’s budget. In addition, we will have data to compare to our peers and be able to ensure our salaries are competitive.
One of the main ways to recruit, retain and support the best talent available is to pay them a wage that is supportive of the work performed. As stewards of your tax dollars, we have to be mindful and ensure that government is operating efficiently. It is far more cost effective to retain outstanding employees than to recruit and train new ones. Salaries are just one step in the retention process.
After this study is complete, myself and other council members will work to ensure that all city employees are paid a living wage that is competitive both in our area and with our peers.
I plan to advocate for a pay structure that guarantees a minimum wage for all our city employees that reflects the cost of living in Raleigh, ensures current employees are paid an equitable wage across city government, makes sure the best employees are supported and rewarded and all our salaries are competitive both in this region and in our peer cities.
Information on the Pay Study:
The city is currently in the second phase of a pay study. This study is being conducted by Gallagher Surveys - a firm that specializes in surveys surrounding compensation and human resources. The study was undertaken “to implement a compensation system that will support the city’s compensation philosophy to attract and retain employees who are committed to public service, demonstrate initiative, and are accountable for individual and team performance that provide a high level of service. The resulting compensation system will be transparent, fair, competitive, equitable, and sustainable.”
Per the most recent study update to the City Council, the first phase has been completed and the second phase kicked off in late June. The initial focus of this phase is to have employees complete position description questionnaires which identifies the essential job duties, responsibilities and qualifications for every classification. These will be the basis for establishing job classifications and for making accurate comparisons to market salary survey data later in the process. The city has over 600 job classifications currently. This also included over 21 employee meetings, which included over 1,500 employees attending. Three meetings were specifically for police and three specifically for fire.
In the coming months, position description questionnaires will be completed and Gallagher will draft a job classification structure. Then we will conduct a custom market survey to be completed in early September.