County pay strategy may change
A proposed compensation plan change for Mesa County employees would cost an estimated $8 million to administer, according to an in-house estimate.
Members of the county’s compensation committee, a group of employees from various departments who discuss ways the county could change its pay system, presented an alternative compensation concept to county commissioners Tuesday afternoon. The committee suggested the county consider offering a pay increase to employees who have been deemed proficient in their jobs and try to offer wages that would make the county more competitive.
The county didn’t have any money budgeted in 2009 through 2011 for pay increases and had to eliminate other expenditures to summon $900,000 in 2012 and $937,000 in 2013 for one-time, merit-based pay increases. Meanwhile, the county has had a total of 795 employees leave the organization for opportunities elsewhere since the start of 2008, including 162 employees lost last year.
Each time the county loses an employee and has to devote other employees to covering an ex-employee’s work or training a replacement worker, it costs the county an estimated $10,858 in lost efficiency and productivity, according to the committee’s presentation. The committee’s hope with a new compensation plan would be to increase retention and employee satisfaction.
“What we know is, we need to change our pay plan. What we have doesn’t work,” Mesa County Deputy Administrator for Operations Pete Baier said.
Committee members estimated pay increases would cost the county $8 million, which the group proposed the county spread over four or five years. Mesa County Administrator Tom Fisher said he will follow up with commissioners over the next couple months to see if they want to go forward with the plan for that amount and over that timeline.
Commissioner Steve Acquafresca agreed the county’s compensation system needs an update and said he believes the money for the pay change will likely come at least in part from eliminating more positions from the county. Commissioners approved elimination of four county positions through attrition this Monday. Commissioner John Justman said even if $8 million were available now, keeping pay competitive would mean discussing finding money for bonuses for years to come.
“This is a never-ending, evolving deal,” he said.