By JULIE B. MAGLIO
The Brooksville City Council adopted an employee compensation plan on June 8, 2021, which calls for salary increases for 64 employees to bring their salaries in line with surrounding cities and municipalities.
The city’s HR Administrator Kimberly Price completed an employee compensation study as the basis of the plan in efforts to “reduce turnover costs and promote growth.”
Price conducted a five-phase review including a comprehensive review of job descriptions and positions and employee interviews.
She found that on average, COB salaries were 12% under market. Through employee interviews, Price determined that 87% of employees felt confident in city leadership, 55% said they would not change anything about their job, and 92% felt they were underpaid for the work they do.
The city has a 4 to 8% turnover rate.
64 employees were found to be compensated below-market salary. In order to bring salaries in line with market expectations, the cost to the city is $384,078.70 including fringe benefit costs.
Other recommendations include:
“All Promotions/Demotions need salary review through HR and approval of City Manager; Demotions should be no more than 10% unless more than (2) pay grades.; All New Hires should be hired at bottom of current range (up to 20% can be approved by City Manager)”
Price explained that departments with the most turnover include sanitation and utilities because of the nature of the job. She said that it’s common to lose employees to the county since they pay more ($1.50-$2.00).
A city resident questioned what the salary increase would cost the taxpayers per year.
The $384,078.70 including fringe costs will be used to recalibrate the salaries for the current fiscal year. “The budgets will have to account for that new salary,” said Price. She explained that currently they have prepared for the additional costs for this year.
The increase will be funded through combined Utilities Revenue/General Funding Reserves. However, an exact figure on how much additional funding will be needed for the next fiscal year was not available.
“We will have that come budget time,” said Mayor Pat Brayton.
As far as the cost of living increases and merit raises, those are not typically implemented until a year after the plan has begun, Price explained.
City resident Michael Burrman pointed out that the salary figures provided in Price’s presentation was only salary and did not include benefits, which could make a big impact.
To that, Price explained that the city benefits are not ideal at the moment. Family medical insurance costs over $1000 per month. “We have great benefits in some ways, but most of our employees are single coverage.” She said she is currently working with the city’s broker to reduce employee expenses for family medical coverage for October enrollment.
Price also explained that there are a significant number of employees who have been with the city for 20-30 years who went years without a salary increase. “You have a lot of employees who haven’t been compensated fairly for many years.”
Mayor Brayton strongly stated that he’d like to make the compensation plan effective July 1.
Councilmember Bailey remarked, “They have been underpaid for years, it’s time for them to get ahead.”
The compensation plan was approved 4-0. Councilmember Battista recused himself as his wife is a city employee.