Gahanna council dissects choice for salary study
Gahanna City Council is considering a salary study/staff audit, but the choice of the organization to perform the work has sparked some debate.
Human-resources director Sue Wadley has recommended that council approve a supplemental appropriation of $15,000 to hire Slavin Management of Norcross, Ga., to perform the work. She said Slavin's cost is competitive and the company has history and prior knowledge of the city's organization and structure. In addition, Slavin's timeline is the shortest, and the firm offers a one-year free consultation regarding any aspect of the plan.
In an effort to ensure the results of the study are available for council and the administration to determine 2013 wage rates as soon as possible, Wadley is requesting a waiver and emergency on the legislation.
Council member Karen Angelou asked why a local firm couldn't be used. She also requested the legislation go through the regular process with no emergency.
Wadley said the Columbus firm, Clemans Nelson & Associates Inc., cost $3,000 more, and it didn't offer a one-year follow-up. Wadley said the city would like to have the study done in time for appropriations, and if that isn't feasible, the goal is to have it by January.
The project is expected to take about five months.
Angelou said the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission recently released a document that compares a lot of city information with others in the area.
Wadley said the concern with exclusively using that information is that it's based on titles, not job descriptions or duties.
Council member Stephen Renner said he wants to be cautious about a built-in bias in using the same firm the city has used in the past.
"I know we have some type of relationship with them," he said. "If we want to take a good look at salary/fringe benefits, we might want someone new."
Wadley said she considers herself the new eye in the process because she joined the city after previous studies.
Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said the idea of fresh eyes is interesting.
"When we had (Slavin) before, they suggested a lot of change," she said. "They didn't necessarily look at the way we always done it. It forced change on our part."
She said Slavin provided valuable recommendations to the city throughout the entire process.
"They will come in and look at our operations," Stinchcomb said. "We believe in doing this with someone who has public-sector experience."
Because of the weak economy, Stinchcomb said, the city hasn't seen much structural change.
"We haven't done anything with salary ranges for a number of years," Wadley said.
The study would involve a comprehensive salary-and-benefits survey for Gahanna's nonbargaining unit positions. It would include all full-time and regular part-time positions (seasonal positions would be excluded), as well as an analysis of the organization as a whole.
The analysis would identify areas for change/improvement and provide appropriate recommendations to improve efficiencies and processes. The analysis also would provide recommendations to guide the city on long-term planning initiatives for at least five years.