Hastings City Council committee tasked with reviewing compensation study

By John McLoone

The Hastings City Council’s Administration Committee has received an employee compensation and classification study that it approved to be conducted early this year.

The study was conducted by the accounting firm of Abdo Solutions and studied similar wages at comparable communities throughout the Twin Cities area. Prior to full council review, the committee will be charged with discussing a new wage scale and implementing it. The council is expected to hear the committee recommendations at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The city last studied wages and job classifications in 19992000.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve done a formal wage compensation study,” said City Administrator Dan Wietecha at the city council meeting on Monday, July 18 The study was necessary because of the competitive marketplace. The city has had a hard time keeping employees, who can make more in other communities.

“The city has relied upon an internallydeveloped step and grade compensation model for each position and has performed its own informal compensation analysis on a regular basis to remain competitive and to ensure compliance with the Minnesota Pay Equity Act,” City Administrator Dan Wietecha wrote in a memo to the city council. “Like many other employers, the city has experienced a change in the workforce and challenges in finding skilled workers. Market wage pressure and competitive recruiting has reinforced the need to ensure city wages are aligned with the market.”

The city budgeted for some adjustments, and the council will need to decide if the new pay program is put into place immediately or phased in. Wietecha said the goal of the study was to make sure city job descriptions are up to date, make sure wages are consistent and to make sure wages are competitive in the marketplace.

Members of the Administration Committee are Lisa Lefeld, Trevor Lund and Jen Fox.

Leah Davis of Abdo said hiring and retaining employees is tough business right now.

“If you’re seeking to attract and retain talent, it’s extremely difficult right now. It’s important that you understand where the market is,” she said.

She went over how data was pulled together for the study, noting that Hastings has an ordinance that states what communities it compares itself to for wages.

“We went out and did a full compensation analysis,” she said.

She said that employees will be placed on the new scale, which right now has eight steps. When that’s done, she said, “There may be some market position adjustments.”

July 27, 2022