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County Board hears plans on compensation study

While some have heard and discussed it multiple times already, the entire Pierce County Board heard June 24 for the first time got to hear a presentation about the county’s plans for a compensation and classification study for its employees.

Barb Petkovsek from Carlson Dettman Consulting said the county contacted the firm to develop a pay plan which would: balance internal equity and consistency with the market; provide a consistent pay plan for all covered staff; strengthen the relationship between pay and performance management; and consider the level of benefits provided by Pierce County for its employees.

Since Act 10 was ratified, Petkovsek said Wisconsin counties such as Douglas, Wood, Dodge, Oneida and Jefferson have implemented pay plans recommended by Carlson Dettman, while other counties such as Shawano and Sawyer are in the midst, like Pierce.

Petkovsek said their market analysis included base wage data from 18 counties in Wisconsin, area cities, and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from the Twin Cities and West Central Wisconsin areas. She noted to supervisors that, when it came to total compensation, Pierce’s wages and salaries were about 57.5 percent, while benefits, which included health insurance, was at 42.5 percent. The BLS ratio for private industry in the Midwest was 69.6 (wages) to 30.4 (benefits) and even less for state and local government 64.4 (wages) to 35.6 (benefits).

After their findings, they recommended, effective Jan. 1, 2015, for all employees, with the exception of those in the sheriff’s department union, and the administrative coordinator:

--A single pay plan with 19 pay ranges;

--A step-based pay plan with a range-spread of 29 percent;

--Twelve pay steps from pay range minimum rates to maximum rates;

--Step progression annually, provided performance at least meets expectations;

--Employees at less than minimum being placed at the range minimum upon implementation;

--Employees greater than maximums would have their pay frozen, or “red-circled.”

An employee can appeal where they are placed, but it would have to be through the county and Carlson Dettman. Carlson Dettman estimates the initial implementation cost to move the employees into the plan will be approximately $125,000.

The June 24 meeting was the first reading, meaning it will be on the agenda for approval at July’s board meeting.

For more please read the July 2 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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