ELKHART — The City of Elkhart will spend around $90,000 on a job classification and compensation study concerning 131 nonunion employees in 108 positions, the City Council decided on Monday.
According to Mayor Tim Neese, the study will help the city develop a fair and consistent method of establishing wages and allowing for future wage increases.
A similar study was done in the Department of Public Works and Utilities in 2017, leading to the outcome that Neese now hopes can be expanded to the rest of the city’s departments.
Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates, the group leading the 2017 study, was also asked to conduct the upcoming study. The Muncie-based business said it is ready to begin upon approval from the City Council, which voted 7-0 Monday evening to fund the study.
The group will review and modify existing job descriptions, covering areas such as difficulty of work, responsibility and physical effort, and then assign each position to one of seven job categories that include professional, administrative, technological; computer, office machine operation, techinician; and executive.
The group will then judge the relative worth of jobs to each other, according to a letter to the City Council.
According to Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates, the process helps identify pay inequities within organizations and can also help compare the city’s current pay practices to that of other local governments.
As a result, the study can serve as the basis for achieving “equal pay for equal work,” the letter said.
“I’d like to make sure that my predecessors are left with the tools they need,” Neese said. He is in the last year of his term and not seeking re-election.
City Councilwoman Mary Olson, R-at large, said that since members of the City Council know the city’s employees so well that some are friends, it is necessary to hire outside help with this task.
The business will bill the city per hour, estimating that the cost will be in the range of $89,220 to $90,880 plus travel expense reimbursement, the cost of which was not estimated. City Council appropriated $90,880 from the Riverboat Fund.
David Henke, R-3, said he had been told the maximum fee would be $90,000, and that he was concerned with the unspecified travel expenses. He was told by engineering service manager Mike Machlan that Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates only traveled to Elkhart a few times during its study of the Department of Public Works and Utilities.
The study is expected to be completed in six to eight months.
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