The Delta City Council periodically reviews compensation and benefits paid to city appointed officers and employees of the city to determine appropriate compensation for those positions.
At the June 5 council meeting city manager David Torgler and the council discussed the results of a comprehensive survey of comparable positions in the competitive job market, conducted to determine if pay ranges of city employees are competitive.
The survey determined that six positions, out of the city's 67 position classifications, were below the competitive job market range. No pay ranges exceeded the competitive job market pay range.
The six individual positions below competitive job market pay range are: city clerk, city engineer/project manager, maintenance mechanic, and three positions in the police department -- police officer, police records/office clerk assistant and police sergeant.
The council had discussed the survey results at prior work sessions.
Torgler recommended the wage adjustment for these positions be effective April 1, 2018. The cost of the wage adjustment for these positions would total $68,723.
The funds would be provided from the following funds: General Fund, $59,949; Water Fund, $323; Sewer Fund, $342; Parks & Rec Fund, $2,100; Internal Service Fund, $6,001.
Councilmember Kevin Carlson recommended the wage adjustment be effective Jan. 1, 2018. He said, "Our employees will know that they are valued here. We have had to recruit twice for new employees." Councilmember Christopher Ryan seconded the motion.
Torgler was asked if any of these employees are now in the new-employee probation period. Torgler said there is not a probation period for Delta city employees; all are at-will employees. There are no individual raises; any raise happens when the city council passes a resolution to that effect. A cost of living raise was granted by council last year.
Finance director Tod DeZeeuw said adjusting the salaries effective Jan. 1, 2018, could cost the city $91,631.
A motion to approve the adjustments to wages was made. Councilmembers Carlson, Ryan and Gerald Roberts voted for the motion. Mayor Ron Austin voted "nay." The motion passed.
Mayor Austin said he doesn't discount the value of any employee, but disagreed with giving the same percentage across the board. He said he thought the council should have a serious discussion about the police department issue. He said employees in the police department have very different duties compared to the person planting flowers.
Austin said, "The police department should be separated and get compensated on the type of work they do. I don't believe lumping police officers in with other employees will increase our ability to recruit police officers."