Underpaid Staff?

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Staff needs a raise?

No! May it never be! Really? In the land of $200,000 life guards? The OC Register published a story last week on the budget and discovered an ongoing study that the city started last fall on what city employees should get paid. And Surprise…. The city staff is UNDERPAID. I wonder who paid for the study? We did of course. Who managed the study’s preparation? The Underpaid staff of course.

So the study’s authors go out and survey what other city managers, public works directors, city clerks, etc. make at “selected” cities within Orange County and come back and show that our managing staff is making less than the average salary. You will note that life guard’s salaries were not included in the study.

 Newport should be the best in government

Newport is supposed to have the best and the brightest. How can they be the best and the brightest if we pay them so “little”? The logic goes like this: the staff will all leave if we don’t stay “competitive” in their compensation package and then we will have to pay new hires a more competitive salary, if the existing staff leaves for greener pastures.

No wonder the city raised taxes on the dock owners. We have a lot of expenses to cover.

So now the ground work has been laid to give city staff a raise. Currently the plan is to include $35k in the 2013-2014 budget to allow City Manager Dave Kiff to give incentive bonuses to certain staff.

 Who are these Guys?

The city staff report includes portions of the $165k  study performed by Fox Lawson and Associates indicating the other cities included in the study as well as how employees ought to be evaluated. 

The study recommends that the Librarian in Newport that currently receives $158k in salary alone (over $50k in benefits) should be receiving $201k in salary–a 27% increase. Kiff’s salary is recommended to raise from $231k to $282k, a 22% increase.

How many qualified applicants do you think we would have for Librarian at $201k? $150k? $100k?

This study does not seem to include any analysis on private sector positions that are similar to the public employee positions. Nor does it take into account a “total compensation” analysis including all the other associated costs associated with an employee such as pensions, vacations, medical etc. private versus public. It should be pointed out that the council does have an official position to include total compensation costs.

I wonder if having an office in the new Taj-Ma-City-Hall is considered additional compensation?

I imagine after Newport grants raises to match the “current level” of compensation that the study’s authors will then be hired by adjacent cities to evaluate their employees and they will point to Newport and say that they should be paid more. Sounds like kind of a racket to me. Nice if you can get it. In fact Newport is doubling down and has hired Fox Lawson for an additional $115k to include all city positions.

Outsourcing is still an option.

Kiff has indicated that staff reductions are still being considered. With the current state of government seeming impossible to roll back, it seems that outsourcing is the only solution, unless we want continually more and higher taxes.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The proof that NB staff is be best and the brightest is in the fact that they even had the cojones to have a study like this done! I have visions of them with their hands in the air saying “It’s not me, see what other cities are getting?”. Maybe they live on the water and their new Dock Tax is making it necessary for them to get a raise.

    Thanks to Scott for bringing this to light.

  2. A librarian that is paid $158,000 now and should get more? That’s too much for a declining industry. I know a librarian that would gladly accept a position for $158,000. The pensions gov’t workers receive is too much as well, compared to almost any other business.

  3. I could go into a long dissertation on Public employees pay, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say this: The 1980’s were the alleged age of greed, if that’s true this is the age of entitlement and runaway government spending…. With ZERO accountability. I say fire them ALL!

    Then I’ll apply for a the vacant job, where I can double my salary and have far better retirement.