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updated: 9/30/2012 6:29 AM

Buffalo Grove discusses move to merit-based raises

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Buffalo Grove trustees last week discussed a proposal for a 2 percent general wage increase for village employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements.

The proposal -- floated by Human Resources Director Art Malinowski at last week's committee of the whole meeting -- sparked a lengthy discussion of moving to a system of merit-based wage increases.

Malinowski said the proposal was based on a survey of surrounding communities.

He also recommended establishing a budget of $150,000 to address the salaries of about 30 employees who have been stuck in the middle of their pay ranges for some years.

He said village staff is in the process of developing a new performance evaluation tool that will enable future range progression to be tied to performance, rather than such criteria as longevity.

"We have been trying to address this question for what seems like decades," Trustee Jeffrey Berman said. "The fact that we still struggle to apply a merit-based component to this is difficult for me to accept.

Village Manager Dane Bragg said the pay system is not ideal. "It's, I would say, kind of bandaged and paper-clipped together right now, because we haven't had much money to distribute."

Trustee Steve Trilling had reservations about implementing a 2 percent raise plus an increase to move people through pay ranges.

He said, "I believe that employees that excel and do a good job deserve pay raises commensurate with the ranges that have been established. I also believe that those that generally do an adequate job or even less than adequate job, if that's the case, being stuck at the midpoint in range or even below that midpoint is certainly justified."

Trilling said he wants to provide a secure environment for employees. By the same token, he said it should not be considered a safe haven.

Trustee Beverly Sussman added that "if someone is not doing their job, they should not be getting a raise. They should not even be employed by the village of Buffalo Grove."

Both Berman and Trustee Michael Terson spoke in favor of establishing a pool of money for wage increases that would average to a figure like 2 percent but would be allocated to employees based on merit. The discussions will continue at future meetings.

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