By John McLoone The Hastings City Council will be filling its Information Technology manager position, and the council unanimously approved raising the annual wage scale for the position by $18,000. …
By John McLoone
The Hastings City Council will be filling its Information Technology manager position, and the council unanimously approved raising the annual wage scale for the position by $18,000.
“The city last conducted a comprehensive compensation and classification study of all positions in 1999-2000,” a memo to the council from City Administrator Dan Wietecha stated. “There have been periodic updates since then, with the last significant review in 2006-07. The study established the wage scale to ensure both competitive wages within the market and internal consistency across positions with the city.”
The city wage scale is based on the average of cities in the metro area between 15,000 and 35,000 population. Wietecha said the current Hastings range for IT manager is $76,589 to $95,376.
“Based on comparable cities, the range should be about $18,000 higher at $86,754 to $113,468. I recommend adjusting the wage scale before advertising the position for hire,” Wietecha wrote.
“Rather than advertising a non-competitive wage, I recommend we adjust the wage scale tonight,” Wietecha told the council.
After that vote, the discussion of an overall compensation and classification study took place.
As Wietecha pointed out earlier in the meeting, a comprehensive review of the city’s compensation schedule was last done more than 20 years ago. After discussion, the council directed its Administration Committee to conduct a review. That committee is comprised of Chair Trevor Lund, Jen Fox and Lisa Leifeld.
“We’re certainly seeing examples where our wage scale appears to be off and needing to be reviewed and updated,” said Wietecha. “We’ve seen some instances with departing employees where it’s a factor in their decision to leave. Wage differences were a part of it.”
He said it’s made hiring difficult in some matters.
“When they found the pay range was not negotiable, they said no,” said Wietecha of potential hires.
“In a couple of recent hiring efforts and in several departing employee exit interviews, wages have been cited as a below market. We have made individual adjustments to the wage scale for one position earlier this year, with a second recommended tonight. In a preliminary review, it appears that several positions, across multiple departments, may be below market. Updating the study now would help with recruiting and retaining employees as well as maintaining internal consistency and ensuring pay equity compliance,” a memo to the council from Wietecha said.
Councilmember Tina Folch warned that initiating the study was “opening a can of worms.”
She said that when the study is completed and some wages are adjusted while others aren’t, it can cause dissention among staff members.
“I am telling you it causes so much angst among the staff. There are some staff that win but some that lose. I want to brace you for that can of worms,” said Folch. “It’s not the answer to everything.”
“I appreciate your comments,” said Councilmember Lori Braucks. “My position is more data is better than less data. If we are unfairly compensating, let’s do something about it.”
“I’m excited for the conversation. It’s critical to retain and encourage people to apply to our wonderful city. We need talented workers,” said Jen Fox.
General obligation bonds The council approved the sale of $2,070,000 in bonds to finance 2021 street improvements. The city was able to borrow the money through the bonding process at an interest rate of .95% When the matter was studied in July, the interest rate at that time was 1.4 percent.
“This is pretty amazing,” Folch said of the interest rate.
Signs on the agenda Folch asked for a report at the next council meeting on the condition of the two signs at the southern entrance to Hastings on Hwys. 55 and 61.
“They’re quite outdated,” she said. “There’s like three feet of weeds growing around the radius of both of them.”
“I think we should have them removed. It’s better not to have them than to have them in the condition they’re in,” said Folch.