Faced with the reality that some village employees are nearly surpassing their supervisors on the pay scale, Itasca has begin evaluating its compensation package for 25 nonunion employees.
Village President Jeff Pruyn said the town traditionally has given all nonunion employees annual cost of living salary adjustments.
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That practice stopped during the recession that froze nonunion salaries from fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2011, he said. During that time, the village's roughly 65 union employees continued to get raises while their nonunion supervisors did not.
"We now have a salary compression at the upper level where their understaffers are catching up to them quite rapidly," Pruyn said. "In order to attract and retain high-quality people in those positions, we need to compare where our salaries fall and see if we need to make any adjustments."
The process will begin Tuesday night when Pruyn said the village board likely will approve new pay scales for two department heads and a promotion and pay adjustment for a staff member.
Pruyn declined to identify the positions prior to Tuesday night's meeting, but he did say the police department most frequently faces the salary issue.
"When we look at police, with overtime, certain officers are the highest paid employees in the village, making more than the chief, deputy chiefs and administrator," Pruyn said. "We want to promote from within, but at some point, why would a sergeant ever want to step up as a supervisor when they currently can make more as a sergeant? We need to fix that."
Pruyn said the village has just completed the salary study, the first it has done in 10 years, and allocated $30,000 in the budget for adjustments.
"I highly doubt we'll need to use most of that $30,000, but we will definitely use some," he said.
Some early results indicate the village's top employees earn as much as 10 percent to 17 percent less than their counterparts in neighboring municipalities.
"We haven't yet decided how to address that because those are some pretty crude comparable numbers at this point," he said. "If those numbers end up being accurate, I'm sure we'll want to do something, but it won't happen in a one-year time frame."
The village also has begun to transition into what Pruyn and some trustees have called a "more fair" merit-based system instead of giving the same cost of living adjustments to everyone.
"It just doesn't mean anything if everyone is getting the same amount every time," Trustee Ellen Leahy said. "It makes sense to attach it to performance, so I think that's a good place to start solving all of this."