Kodiak Daily Mirror - New city salary system will cost $504 000 more per year
  
New city salary system will cost $504,000 more per year
by James Brooks / editor@kodiakdailymirror.com
Apr 11, 2013 | 326 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Kodiak City Council is considering changing public employees’ pay grades for the first time in 10 years as it takes up debate on a new salary system during tonight’s city council meeting.

The new system revises employees’ job descriptions and duties and pegs pay rates to market standards. If accepted, the new system will cost the city an additional $504,000 per year — $389,000 in higher salaries and $115,000 in benefits.

“It’s affordable,” city manager Aimee Kniaziowski told the city council during a work session Tuesday. “(City finance director) Mary (Munk) and I worked hard to try and identify a number that was sustainable over the long run.”

The new salary and benefits system spent almost a year and a half under development with guidance from Fox Lawson & Associates, a financial firm that also audits the city’s books. Fox Lawson’s guiding principle was to bring city pay and benefits into line with market averages.

The result of that effort is a radical departure from the city’s existing structure, which incorporates 35 pay levels. Within each of the levels, called “grades,” are up to 15 pay “steps.” Employees rise through the steps through experience and longevity.

Under the new system, this complicated structure has been condensed into 19 grades that each offer a “band” of salaries based on time in the position.

“We had a lot of grades under the old system that weren't even being used,” Kniaziowski said. “They shrunk it down.”

The city’s lowest-paying job, a library clerk, earns $12.86 per hour under the current system. Under the new system, the same position starts at $15.10 per hour.

Other city positions will see smaller or larger increases, but all 120 people employed full-time by the city of Kodiak will see some benefit. “Everybody would get an increase,” Kniaziowski said. “Those whose positions don't reach the minimum would be brought up to the minimum.”

Because some city benefits are tied to salary, those benefits would also cost more, Kniaziowski said. “When you adjust pay, you’re adjusting those benefits and those fringes that are associated with pay,” she said.

The plan before the city council tonight is one of seven options developed by the city’s finance department and Fox Lawson. The other six alternatives have received limited attention, however, due to cost or other concerns.

If approved by the city council tonight, the new pay structure must be approved in a second vote later this month before taking effect.

Tonight’s city council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the borough assembly chambers on Mill Bay Road.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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