OCEAN CITY – The resort’s mayor this week agreed to pass the town’s new employee pay scale into an emergency ordinance in order to hire and place temporary employees in advance of the busy season.
During Monday night’s Mayor and City Council meeting, the City Council voted to accept the new town employee pay scale ordinance on first reading. The ordinance includes newly hired general full-time and new and returning temporary part-time hires.
City Manager Dennis Dare asked that this be done by emergency so that the town departments can get the city salary ranges out for the summer hires.
Mayor Rick Meehan was concerned about passing the new pay scale into an emergency ordinance due to the fact that the council was split on the approval by a 4-3 vote, with Doug Cymek, Mary Knight and Lloyd Martin in opposition.
“There’s a lot of pay ranges that are still too high,” Council Secretary Lloyd Martin said. “One of my concerns right now is to get all the pay ranges set and not rush into this.”
Martin said that he would be more comfortable voting only on the temporary employee pay scale, but not for full-time general employees.
“I know we need to hire people for the summer, nut I do hope they can bring these salaries back to us…I hate voting on the general employees’ salary and setting it in stone now; we should really discuss it more,” Martin said. “We really haven’t looked at all the pay grades.”
Martin added that the council still hasn’t voted on benefits for new town employees.
Meehan responded that part-time salaries are based off of the full-time salaries.
“In order to set the part-time salaries … we need to adopt the full-time pay scale for new employees,” he said.
Councilwoman Mary Knight agreed with Martin, saying, “I would have felt better about this motion if it was two tiered.”
Councilman Doug Cymek said that the new decrease in salaries just “kind of nips away at it.”
“It probably should be even higher,” Cymek said. “I am not prepared to state why that is because I have not seen all the reports and that is what I would like to see come forward. I think there is possibility for a greater decrease on the top end.”
Dare said that the hiring process for town employees is a couple of weeks behind of where they would like to be.
“We have people who were contemplating coming to work for us or doing something else,” he said. “The longer we have them in limbo there is a possibility that they go somewhere else.”
Dare added that he would like to hire part-time employees earlier and bring on returning summer employees to get the amount of work down to prepare for the summer season.
“That’s why I asked it to be an emergency ordinance assuming it was going to pass because our clock is ticking,” he said.
Meehan supported passing the new pay scale into an emergency ordinance.
“We have made a dramatic change here…we’ve tried to tailor this to reflect what our surveys have shown throughout the area and to start gradually at the lower end…and to accelerate as we get up to the higher end,” Meehan explained. “Because of that, I think it is time and we need to move forward. I think it is only going to affect part-time employees at this time because we haven’t passed the other benefit portions of this and we have a lot of discussion left with those.”
Last week Human Resources Director Wayne Evans explained the new pay scale, “The chart reduces the minimum by a graduated percentage from zero percent to eight percent. The new hire maximum of the range is reduced by the same percentage as the minimum.”
The new pay scale provides two different maximum pay columns, one for new hires and one for current employees. The option now does not affect current employees and their cap of maximum pay will remain the same.
Returning temporary employees will return to the current rate they left with, but the starting rate for new seasonal employees is reduced.
Evans explained that the pay grade reduction for newly hired seasonal or temporary employee and full time are the same percentage just converted into an hourly wage.