Council To Weigh Latest Pay Study Recommendations

OCEAN CITY – A Pay and Classification Study for Town of Ocean City employees recommended bringing about a quarter of the full-time work force up to the market minimum.

On Tuesday afternoon, Management Advisory Group, Inc. (MAG) President Don Long came before the Mayor and City Council to present the results of a citywide Pay and Classification Study, which was deemed a high priority on the town’s 2014 Strategic Plan’s Policy Agenda.

“It has been seven years or so since the last pay classification study for the Town of Ocean City employees where we benchmark our pay and compensation against the market, and review internal parities as well,” City Manager David Recor said.

The study is a result of conducting employee orientation sessions; administering and reviewing job analysis questionnaires; conducting department head and employee interviews; conducting job analysis of included town classifications; gathering salary and compensation data from competitor organizations; developing a revised compensation and pay plan; recommending changes to support an internally equitable plan; and reviewing departmental requests and making selected adjustments.

The study compared Ocean City’s general employees to 24 other city, town, county, state and facility employees, including Anne Arundel County, City of Annapolis, City of Virginia Beach, Maryland State Police, Rehoboth Beach and Wicomico County.

As a result of MAG’s custom market survey for general employees, at the market minimum the Town of Ocean City led the market by 1.19 percent, at the market midpoint the town led the market by 5.54 percent and at the market maximum the town led the market by 5.70 percent.

“In terms of the overall averages, these numbers show for general titles the city is in a good competitive position,” Long said. “If you’re within 5 percent or so in a survey like this, we can conclude that you have been competitive and there is not much change that is absolutely necessary.”

The study compared Ocean City’s executive titles to 19 other city, town, county, state and facility employees, including City of Baltimore, City of Richmond, City of Salisbury, Kent County and the State of Maryland.

The town lagged the market by 5.89 percent at the market midpoint, the Town lagged the market by 3.08 percent and at the market maximum the town lagged the market by 1.29 percent.

However, the market average range width was 55 percent for general employees and 60 percent for executive employees. Ocean City’s average range width is 70 percent to 83 percent. MAG recommended setting the salary ranges for the Unified Pay Plan to 60 percent.

“Today our general employee population for the most part is in an open range system. There is a minimum of the pay range and a maximum of the pay range, and increases granted within that range are done on a formula basis as a ratio of where the employee stands against their midpoint,” Human Resources Director Wayne Evans said. “For example, if someone is at the low end of the pay range and increment increases are granted, that person would receive a higher percentage of increase compared to someone who is at the top of their pay range.”

MAG recommended adopting a new structure and ranges to bring all employees to the minimum of their proposed range with an implementation target date of Jan. 1, 2016.

Of the 398 employees in the Unified Plan, 54 employees are below the proposed market minimums. This annual cost is approximately $115,165. A 2-percent adjustment already budgeted for Jan. 1 decreases the incremental cost to approximately $84,470 annually. Twenty-three employees are not recommended for any adjustment because their current salary exceeds the maximum of the proposed range.

“That is probably the lowest implementation cost I have seen in 20 years, which means you are being very competitive on most of your ranges … you are in good condition,” Long said.

According to Evans, part-time and temporary pay rates were last adjusted in 2011 when a lower starting rate was added to the existing three-step pay table. The rest of the existing pay table remained unchanged and there were no step increases for the temporary and part-time employees. Returning temporary seasonal and part-time employees were placed in the step table at the same rate they were in the previous season.

“Adjustments for full-time positions, as proposed by MAG, will impact temporary starting pay where equivalent positions exist,” Evans stated.

Adjustments for those temporary/part-time position start rates will result in an incremental increase of approximately $16,379 above the budgeted 2 percent.

In total, the additional cost in Fiscal Year 2106 would be an incremental increase of $27,554 above the budgeted 2 percent.

The council will thoroughly review the study prior to making a decision on the policy change.