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Cary establishes new salary schedule for employees

CARY – As part of a recent review of the village’s employee handbook, salary plan and job descriptions, village officials have come up with a new salary schedule, which could lead to as much as $30,000 in new costs for the village.

The village plans to run an $8.1 million general fund budget, and a $21.2 million overall budget for fiscal 2014-15.

During the review, outside consultants McGrath Consulting found the village’s former salary schedule for nonunion employees was not based on external market rates, salary ranges were inconsistent, and employees could not reach the top of their salary range.

“It’s very clear the village is generous to its employees,” Village Administrator Chris Clark said. “It’s important to indicate ... there are other benefits that are part of the employees’ compensation that were not part of the study, some of which we control, some we don’t.”

Clark said those include the health insurance and pension funds.

The schedule includes pay grades and steps employees can move up. The salary schedule also includes open spots in case the village believes it needs to create other positions in the future.

Clark said he has tried to move away from cost-of-living adjustments because they are perceived as automatic raises, and move toward a merit-based approach.

The village surveyed Algonquin, Barrington, Crystal Lake, Grayslake, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lake Zurich, McHenry, Woodstock and Hoffman Estates when determining a new salary schedule.

To move through the salary schedule for the nonunion employees, staff members have to receive an acceptable performance review, according to village documents.

In April, there are merit-based performance reviews for nonunion employees, Clark said.

With the new salary schedule set to take effect in May, some employees may not make the maximum, and some employees have hit a salary ceiling, Clark said. There are now positions that are not eligible for overtime pay.

Clark said there will probably be about $30,000 in new salary costs for the village.

The village also updated its job descriptions, as well as the preferred education level for some positions, such as adding a preference for a master’s degree for an assistant village administrator, and a preference for a bachelor’s degree for an assistant director of public works, with at least seven years of operations and maintenance experience instead of five years.

“I felt this was a good opportunity for the village to set the bar higher .... in terms of education requirements,” Trustee Jeff Kraus said.

The salary schedule and job descriptions affect up to 24 positions.

“We’re balancing the existence of incumbent employees with those we may wish to attract from the outside when positions become open from time to time,” Clark said. “The salary process is a complex one.”

Kraus, along with Trustees David Chapman and Bob Bragg, voted against the changes.

Bragg said the job description changes were needed for a long time.

“There’s a lot of things I agree with 100 percent, some things I’m not totally in favor of, and there are some things I don’t agree with at all,” Bragg said.

He said he didn’t agree with the comparables the village used for determining the salary schedule, and added the village should have looked at Fox River Grove, Island Lake and Wauconda as well, which he said are more comparable than Hoffman Estates.

“I don’t like the overall scope width of the salary scale,” Bragg said.

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