The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 5, 2000


New wage study draws questions on equity, authority

The long-awaited Wage and Classification Study has finally arrived. Sandy Stapczynski of Human Resource Services, Inc. delivered copies of the weighty tome to members of the board of selectmen and town administrator Madonna McKenzie at the April 25 meeting. The Clark Room was filled to standing room only with town officials and employees from every department, eager to hear how they were finally going to be rewarded.

The process

Stapczynski reviewed the process that she has been following over the duration of the study. Job analysis questionnaires had been handed out to all town employees at the orientation meeting where the purpose of the study had been explained. Stapczynski analyzed the labor market by selecting comparable communities similar in size, structure, and government. She then collected and analyzed comparable salary data for each position.

Each job analysis questionnaire was reviewed as it became available and then the individual employee or supervisor was interviewed. "There are three types of positionshourly, salary, and call," explained Stapczynski. "By the way, it's very unusual to have an entirely call fire department. There's nothing comparable in the area." She also recommended that the town "move away" from allowing inspectors to keep up to 50 percent of the fees they collect. "The fees should come to the town, then be paid to the employee." She drafted a description for each position and returned it to the employee or supervisor for review and comment. Stapczynski and her team then revised the position descriptions and rated them so that employees doing similar work were paid similar wages. Job responsibilities and required knowledge and skill determined the differences in pay levels.

Finally, Stapczynski drafted a salary schedule and classification plan and handed over the final report to the town. "We found internal inequities," she revealed to affirmative nods in the audience. "Some were below the average (about 50 percent), and some were aboveso we're right in the middle." Stapczynski estimates that it will take about $15,000 to bring everyone up to minimum range. Over $31,000 has been set aside in the FY01 budget for this purpose. "It will take an estimated $50,000 to get everyone up to market average, so it may take a second year before we're through," she advised.

Personnel board support

Personnel board chair Susan Stamps informed the audience that the board has reviewed the Wage and Classification Study and they support it. Stapczynski warned that it needs to be continually updated in order to remain credible, with market adjustment at least every two years. An appeals process should be implemented as soon as possible for those who feel they have been unfairly classified. Human Resource Services have fulfilled their obligations with delivery of the study results and further implementation is up to the town.

Many concerns

Town employees and supervisors in the audience immediately started to pick apart the study. Library trustee Mary Cheever saw her supervisory authority, granted by the state, as being compromised. "Library trustees have responsibility for library personnel," she emphasized. Tom Dunkers of the board of assessors discovered two identical job descriptions in the study with different pay levels. Tom Lane of the planning board expressed concern about the data not being correct. "There seems to be a morale problem that, if not properly addressed, could cause people to leave," he warned. A general suspicion prevailed throughout the room that some less deserving employee in the next office might be getting a bigger raise.

Selectman Vivian Chaput pleaded for folks to accept the study as a first draft and work from there. McKenzie added that it could take two years before everyone reaches the proper level"and then the scale changes!" She asked that people support the wage classification adjustments at Town Meeting (Article 9). "Other communities have gone through this and we'll study their process to ensure success," she wishfully concluded.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito