Tampa City Council hears preliminary report on employees salaries by Mitch E. Perry

03/30/06

Salary Plans

Today a consultant being paid to provide a study of Tampa City employee salaries presented a draft report for the first phase of his research to the Tampa City Council.

City officials say the study is the first serious one to be done for city employees in over 20 years.

Dr. Jeffrey Lane is with MGT of America….The group surveyed wages in 19 comparable cities and counties in Florida and the nation doing the study "Total compensation was a same part of phase 1 will be a larger compnenet of phase 2. Meaning we have some preliminary things to share with you in regards to benefits and total compensation. One of the primary areas what was was alluded to previously that the City of Tampa appears to be slightly behind or slightly less generous than its other peer jurisdictions, inparticularly in the retirement area."

City Councilman John Dingfelder expressed concern that the results of the first phase of the salary study were not diluted – that is, not adjusted by any members of the Iorio administration….Lane said that was not the case, but that he typically asks a city government for feedback on his work "At no time did point did a City offical, adminstrator come to me or any of my staff and indicate 'I don't like what you found I want something different.' If that where the case we would have asked to end the engagement at that time."

Lane had met Council members individually yesterday……Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena said one statistic that attracted her attention is the fact that the number of employees who are at the top of their pay grade in the City is over 50% "You had said that it was very significant that there are so many that are impacted by that. It's not just our assistants it's a broad number and I wonder if you could share that with us."

John Dingfelder:"I believe that Darryl shared that with us yesterday and I believe the number was close to 50% where near the maximum or at the maximum in their individual ranges. So there will be a large number of individuals that will be in the position be outside of the COLA increase or the cost of living increase they will be recieving a significant increase unless the results of phase 2 reveal something different than what we've learned upto this point."

City Councilwoman Rose Ferlita was apparently one Councilmember who did NOT meet on Wednesday with consultant Jeffrey Lang about City employee salaries. She said her concern is NOT with management salaries, but those of the hourly wage workers.

She also took this swipe at the Iorio Administration’s salary increases for top management "My concern is that we're talking about this study and that we're using your expertise and everything you're bringing to the table but the Mayor, without the benfit of this study, if you go back. I think I'm accurate. She adjusted the pay range not the payscale, but the pay range of her staff several times. So that kind of makes me focus on the hourly wage person that doesn't have the benefit of that executive decisions."

That comment fired up city officials, like Mayor Iorio’s Chief of Staff, Darrell Smith…He said that Mayor Iorio, and before her, Mayor Greco made pay range increases every October 1st….But what was different was Pay Grade changes "We haven't added a pay grade in over 10 to 12 years in the city. I would submit to you that the local pay market has changed significantly in the last 10 to 12 years and it was perfectly justified and needed to add an additional pay grade to accomidate our city attorney and our director of revenue and finance."

Mary Alvarez asked Smith if after Phase II is completed, could there be a possibility for merit or bonuses for aids? "I'm asking is there a potiental in the future for merit or bonuses for these types of employees." Mr. Smith responded by saying, "I would defer what we're going to do as a result of phase 2 until we get the results and see what we're actually dealing with. But the likelyhood is there of possibly of considering that as one of tools in the compensation toolkit."

Councilmember Kevin White called it a “de-motivator� when hourly employees see some top level aids get paid more than the Mayor "But when average John Q. Worker for the City sees someone getting paid more than the Mayor. Well, then all of the sudden Wow here a $5 or $10 thousand bonus they got for a job well done 'Well, I get a job well done every day too. My supervisor.... I bust my but everyday too' And that a de-motivator. We need to look at some way...some type of rewards system for our hourly wage employees too."

Chief of staff David Smith said City managers also receive bonuses, not just executives… Again, Phase II of the Study will be completed this fall.

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