San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 21st, 2008
Council workshop looks at fiscal issues

City Council discussed a workshop on a study that was funded in Fiscal Year 2007-08.

“City Council approved the initiation of a classification and compensation study for all (city) personnel,” said San Marcos City Manager Rick Menchaca.

San Marcos has 524 funded positions of which 140 are in civil services, 50 in Fire and 90 in Police, as well as 384 non-civil service employees. The reasons for the study were turnover and the ability to attract and retain qualified employees; as well as internal equity and to improve the current model which is 20 years old. The study evaluated turnover rates for fiscal years 2002 through 2008; the ending date for the data in the study being August 13, 2008. Fire saw its biggest hike in turnover in fiscal year 2005 at 12% and its lowest in fiscal year 2003 at 0%. Police and non-civil service had their highest turnover rate in fiscal year 2008; police was at 8% and non-civil service at 23%. The study identified that most terminate their employment with the city within the first three years. The study described their project scope to collect job questionnaires from city employees, prepare job descriptions which are compliant with employment laws such as Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The market pay study was for the identification of comparable entities and to compile the results, while the design of classification system for non-civil service was to meet current and future needs and to provide for external competitiveness and internal equity. The cities surveyed in the study were San Marcos, Denton, Round Rock, College Station, Bryan, Temple, Cedar Park, New Braunfels, Conroe, Georgetown, Pflugerville, and Texas State University.

“We need to see how we can become more competitive,” said San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz.

In the study the civil service pay plan is described as being governed by Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code (Civil Service Statute). It is divided into ranks and all ranks must have the same base pay. Tenure based steps are allowed, however performance pay is not permissible and the employees move with the structure. The market was defined as the midpoint between the minimum and maximum range. In San Marcos, civil service fire had an average of all ranks at 11.89% below market, and the civil service police had an average of all ranks at 6.22% below market.

The study also states that the non-civil service pay plan has flexibility in design by the City, grades are established for the purpose of grouping jobs, and as the structure moves to market, employees move independently with the exception of increase to minimum. The market was defined as the midpoint between the minimum and maximum range. All non-civil service categories were below market, the highest market variance was in the service-maintenance category at 20.3% below market and the lowest was in the paraprofessionals category at 3.9% below market.

“We don’t think we can afford all the improvements in one year, but conceptually we can do it over two years,” said Menchaca.

City council is scheduled for further discussion and recommendation of the classification and compensation study for September 16.

By Andy Sevilla

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