OCEAN CITY – In hopes of getting the so-called “clear picture” on whether Ocean City’s employees are paid too much money, the town’s Human Resources Director Wayne Evans was tasked to put together an additional salary study comparing the resort with just the Eastern Shore.
Several weeks ago, Evans had given a similar report that showed Ocean City’s pay a bit high on the starting salaries, when compared to like jobs across the state, and in competing resort destinations, but Councilman Jim Hall, believed that the report was skewed and wasn’t telling him what he needed to know.
“This report is much better, and is getting closer to what I was hoping to find out, but I still think that we start our employees too high and they end higher than most people on the Eastern Shore,” Hall said.
Evans said that the balance for the future must come in the form of offering a competitive salary and benefits package that will not only help recruit talented people to Ocean City, but also retain them and keep up a good level of motivation for them to do a good job and keep morale high.
Evans recommended the council look into possibly trimming the starting salaries of new employees on a case-by-case basis and to adjust any future COLA increases that may be re-instated by the city (COLA’s have been frozen for two years) to simply apply to the employee and not the entire pay range for the position.
Simply put, in the past, if an employee received a 2% raise each year, the top end of that position’s pay range also increased by 2%.
The council thought that Evans’ recommendations were on the right track.
“This is getting much closer to what we should be offering our people,” said Hall. “We need to make it clear that this has nothing to do with current employees and has everything to do with our future ones. So, we can get these pay ranges to the right level and tell our new people, ‘This is the New Deal.’”
Mayor Rick Meehan believed that looking at starting salaries is a good first step.
“If you look at this study, some jobs are a bit higher than the average, so maybe we do need to look at and make some adjustments to our starting salaries, said Meehan, “but I think we need to do it on a case-by-case or job-by-job basis because there are some jobs that are right where they need to be.”