City to evaluate the salaries of 131 employees

Truth file photo 131 non-union employees with the City of Elkhart will have their jobs and salaries evaluated over the next six to eight months, City Council decided on Monday in the hopes of giving equal pay for equal work and comparing the city to other local governments. 

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.  

Follow Rasmus Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus

(6) comments

Prima101

Elkhart County Council should look into this as well. Elkhart County's own County Administrator is still holding his previous position of Manger of Transportation which is a violation of State Constitution's Dual Office Holding, Would not be surprised if there is Dual Compensation as well. And that is at the top, I would guess that there is some degree of this throughout the County. I seen earnings which we taxpayers provide for County workers and I was quite surprised how well the upper few were paid quite well. Does that pay match Work output, Experience or Good Decisions?? Probably Not!

raindrop

It;s for Tom Shoff to dress up as a cop on the weekends and cruise his river queen.

Joe King

Well, that’s a nice thing to say... you must be proud.

correction

Thought the riverboat fund was being used to investigate our criminal police department...

sidearm

The Riverboat Fund is also being used to fund the Tolson Center. What is the Riverboat Fund? What was the fund set up for? Maybe the Truth should do an article about to inform us. It had to be set up for some reason and I am quite certain it was not to fund the Tolson Center.

RasmusSJorgensen Staff
RasmusSJorgensen

Thank you for asking. The Riverboat Fund holds money that comes from casino taxes throughout the state (I suppose those would be riverboat casinos, specifically, but I am not completely sure). The money is distributed to the counties, that, in turn, distributes to the cities. As I understand it, appropriations from the fund are not limited to any area.
Rita Huffman, who is the City of Elkhart's controller, told me Elkhart received $301,126.00 in 2018 and that the 2019 distribution will come in during the summer.

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