Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Schedule II employee salary increases

The following letter was written to the members of the Kewaunee County Board in hopes they will get involved in this process rather than allowing certain committees to dictate to the Board.
At the December 17th Kewaunee County Board Meeting a resolution titled “Resolution Approving Schedule II” was put forward to the board for approval.  The personnel committee did not have that data available to the board until 3:30PM on Dec 17th on the county website.  The first time board members saw this resolution was when you sat at your desk for the county board meeting at 5PM.  As you know, that resolution was tabled by a vote of 10-9 with Ron Paider not in attendance.  The resolution was tabled for one month and will, unless the Personnel Committee changes it’s resolution, appear on the agenda in January for approval. 
So, it is up to us to let the Personnel Committee know the resolution as submitted is not acceptable as presented to the board and needs to be revised prior to the Jan board meeting.  The following table displays the salary increases as proposed by the Personnel Committee. 
Employee Name
Title
Current Salary
Salary Increase
% of Increase
2014 Salary
Cornelius, Dave
Chief Deputy
$65,815
$4,500
6.83%
$70,315
Treml, Joseph
Jail/Lt
$64,255
$3,000
4.66%
$67,255
Gulbrand, Chris
Lt. Sheriff Dept.
$64,255
$3,000
4.66%
$67,255
Wallander, Andrew
County Conservationist
$57,256
$1,500
2.61%
$58,755
Aulik, Joe
Veterans Service Officer
$48,565
$2,500
5.14%
$51,065
Halada, Mary
Public Health
$66,685
$1,500
2.24%
$68,185
Loining, Ross
Dir. Info Systems
$74,759
$1,500
2.00%
$76,258
Payette, Matt
County Parks
$56,869
$3,000
5.27%
$59,869
Hanson, Steve
Land Information Dir.
$55,058
$4,942
8.97%
$60,000
Wisnicky, Jeff
Corporate Council
$49,566
$1,000
2.29%
$50,566
TOTALS
$603,082
$25,942

$629,523
Important Note: The three highlighted employees each received a $1,500 bonus (included in table above) as a result of the management contract the county entered into with the city of Algoma for management of the Algoma City Police Force.  There was no mention of bonus money in the contract and it seems our Sheriff and his management team were confident they could manage the Algoma force with existing staff.  The proposed  bonuses were presented to the board on Dec 17th and passed the board by a vote of 13 to 6 with the following board members voting in favor of these bonuses: Barlow, Heidmann, Abrahamson, Paphlam, Weidner, Wagner, Swoboda, Hutter, Mayer, Dax, Rueckelberg, Koenig and Garfinkel.
Total increase in base salaries and bonuses for this group of Schedule II employees totaled $25,942.  But when you consider the fringe cost of retirement, workers comp, and SS, the real cost of those increases is $30,984.  And if one considers this over a period of, let’s say ten years, it is $310,000 cost.  Let’s face it.  Algoma will re-sign the management deal.  So you can assume a request from the Sheriff’s Department will be made to enure those bonuses will be continued going forwardGiven the proposed salary increases for the lieutenants, perhaps this resolution should be revisited.
So for these three Public Safety employees combined, the increase in salary would be $10,500, (that includes base salary & bonus and does not consider increase in fringe benefits).  My salary research supports the increase for the Chief Deputy, but nowhere can I find any salary data that supports the increases for the other two lieutenants.
If the resolution proposed by the Personnel Committee is left to stand, the following table shows the results.
Employee Name
Title
Current Salary
Salary Increase Includes Bonus
% of Increase
Salary Before Fringe
% Cost of Fringe Benefits
Cost of Fringe
TLL Cost of
2014 Salary
To County
Cornelius, Dave
Chief Deputy
$65,815
$4,500
6.83%
$70,315
27.95%
$19,653
$89,968
Treml, Joseph
Jail/Lt
$64,255
$3,000
4.66%
$67,255
27.95%
$18,977
$86,232
Gulbrand, Chris
Lt. Sheriff Dept.
$64,255
$3,000
4.66%
$67,255
27.95%
$18,977
$86,232

Personnel Committee Decision on these salaries
I was able to attend both personnel committee meetings when the sub-committee, and then the full committee took up the issue of these salary increases.  Mr. Weidner chaired both of these meetings and he was the only person at that table, other than me, that had any salary research data. 
Chairman Weidner elected to use the August 2012 Carlson Dettmann study data to argue the salary increases for these employees.  Note: The following table shows the counties that actually participated in the Carlson Dettmann study that were compared against Kewaunee County.  Keep in mind, Kewaunee County has an equalized value of $1.4B with a population of 20,500.
County
Equalized value in Billions
Population
Calumet
$3.4
49,400
Door
$7.1
27,820
Manitowoc
$5.1
81,000
Marinette
$3.6
41,600
Oconto
$3.5
37,400
Shawano
$2.9
41,700
Waupaca
$3.7
52,600
Average of 7 Counties
$4.19
47,360

I called 10 counties during the week of Dec 3, 2013 to specifically query either the HR person or the County Clerks as to their 2014 salaries.  I only considered those employees who were to be considered for increase by our Personnel Committee.  Following is a table of those counties I called that displays their equalized values as well as populations.  Note: I include Kewaunee, Door and Manitowoc counties to arrive at my averages.
County
Equalized value in Billions
Population
Ashland
$1.2
16,000
Door
$7.1
27,820
Jackson
$1.4
20,499
Vernon
$1.7
29,954
Clark
$1.7
33,557
Langlade
$1.6
19,997
Manitowoc
$5.1
81,000
Marquette
$1.6
15,404
Price
$1.4
14,159
Taylor
$1.2
20,689
Kewaunee
$1.4
20,500
Average of 11 Counties
$2.31
27,234

Compare the averages of the two tables.  I would argue the data that I have assembled for the 11 counties is much more in line with what Kewaunee County is than the data in the Carlson Dettmann study.  Carlson also had included, for some positions, private sector jobs.  But one could argue the job descriptions we have for our public county employees are not comparable at all.  For example, I am not aware of any private jail lieutenants.  Also, for the most part, the private sector jobs do not enjoy the generous retirement program or the health insurance we provide the Kewaunee County employees.  Another argument often heard is; “Our Kewaunee County employees are often times multi-tasking, completing not only their assigned tasks but other assigned duties.  In smaller counties, this is the norm, not the exception!
So what did my salary study show for these positions?  The following table shows the average salary for the 11 counties along with what should be a reasonable, fair salary increase.  (Lieutenant bonuses not included in this table).
Employee Name
Title
Current Salary
Without Fringe
Ave. Salary
Eleven Counties
Recommended
Increase?
Y0U DECIDE
2014 Salary
Without Fringe
Cornelius, Dave
Chief Deputy
$65,815
$72,562
$ ?
$ ?
Treml, Joseph
Jail/Lt
$64,255
$61,588
$ ?
$ ?
Gulbrand, Chris
Lt. Sheriff Dept.
$64,255
$59,538
$ ?
$ ?
Wallander, Andrew
County Conservationist
$57,256
$56,351
$ ?
$ ?
Aulik, Joe
Veterans Service Officer
$48,565
$49,498
$ ?
$ ?
Halada, Mary
Public Health
$66,685
$66,852
$ ?
$ ?
Loining, Ross
Dir. Info Systems
$74,759
$66,564
$ ?
$ ?
Payette, Matt
County Parks
$56,869
$63,418
$ ?
$ ?
Hanson, Steve
Land Information Dir.
$55,058
$66,692
$ ?
$ ?
Wisnicky, Jeff
Corporate Council
$49,566
Not checked*
$ ?
$ ?
TOTALS
$603,082

$ ?
$?
*I did not check the Corp Council 2014 salaries with other counties as this was originally not on the list, however in my 4/23/2013 salary study results, the Corp Council of Kewaunee Co was underpaid.

Now that you have “the rest of the story” and an opportunity to compare, make your own decisions concerning these salary increases and make recommendations to the Personnel Committee.  Remember, the Personnel Committee is a recommending body and they are not in place to dictate policy.