Glendora to take back (minimal?) raises to department managers

In previous episodes of the salary/association wars in Glendora, the city was prepared to suspend a salary schedule recently approved for department managers that has been the subject of some controversy.

It appears, after reading the staff report today, (updated) the city intends to take back some raises that relate to the schedule. What exactly will be taken back is unclear based on the report’s language.

“That any Department Director’s salary that was minimally adjusted to allow payroll to place them into a corresponding salary step in accordance with resolutions 2010-26 and 2010-005 be returned to their prior salary in a y-rated step to their monthly rate, as identified in their contract and/or their personnel file immediately prior to July 27, 2010.”

After contentious debate between the city and the Glendora municipal employees association regarding a new contract, it will be interesting to see how the two sides are able to negotiate a salary schedule with so much room for interpretation.

Most importantly, how will the city seek to define “exceeds performance” regarding merit increase. In private industry, that is usually a broad definition left to interpretation by the supervisor. In this situation, I suspect the union will want more clarity. Does “exceeds expectations” mean doing your job PLUS that of another or is it doing your job better than anyone else would do it?

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Emptying the notes on Glendora’s salary schedule and recent department manager raises

The news came this week that Glendora officials are looking to suspend a recently approved merit increase schedule for managers in an effort to broker a deal for a similar schedule with the Glendora municipal employees association.

Within that story, it was also shown that despite previous representations, Glendora gave raises to three managers PRIOR to the salary schedule being approved, but those raises were reflected within the schedule.

Just to elaborate on this issue are a few facts.

Here is Chris Jeffers, in an e-mail, explaining City Clerk Kathleen Sessman’s salary increases over the last two years, as well as her concessions:

On 10/06/08 received a 2% merit to $8,377. This covered her performance from 2007-08 time period.

On 12/29/08 received a city-wide COLA adjustment of 3% that GMEA; GMA and Directors granted by the City Council to $8,628.

On 7/01/09 Required to pick up 3% of pension for the year.

On 7/01/10 Required to pick up 4.8% of pension and 1.9% sick leave cash out eliminated.

On 7/12/10 received a merit increase of 5% covering the period of time between Oct 2008 and now to $9,064.

So the incumbent’s base salary increase by 10% since 10/08, her total compensation has been permanently reduced by <6.7%> with the action this past July. So the net adjustment is 3.3% increase in compensation in two years.

I will add one thing. That final 5 percent was done in two parts, 2.5 percent the bumped her up to her new step 1 on the approved salary schedule, and then another 2.5 percent, as reflected on the salary schedule, to step 2.

To clear out a few more notes, the big thing about the merit increases was the ability to switch to a more private sector structure of requiring better than satisfactory reviews to get a raise. But within all the department managers’ contracts – prior to the new schedule – was a condition they must receive exemplary performance reviews to get merit increases. What this schedule then does is allow for managers to have a more transparent structure and one that rewards people for longevity.

Given that the city appears to have operated under much of those conditions already, it would seem they wanted this to serve as a model more so than the actual impact it may have on manager salaries and merit increases for them.

Whether or not they will be able to broker a deal is something that remains to be seen.

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Breakdown of pay for Glendora’s contracted employee association negotiator

A quick note going back to the recent impasse between Glendora and the municpal employees association where the council forced a one year contract on the association with several concessions.

In years past, the City Manager or other members of the city’s executive team would handle negotiations with the association. This year the city hired Richard Kreisler to handle negotiations for the city with all its employee associations, teamed with Deputy City Manager Brenda Fischer and Finance Director Josh Betta.

The total cost for Kreisler’s services (contracted through Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore Legal Fees)
is $42,797 since March 2010.

Kreisler’s pay breaks down like this:

He was paid $6,682.05 for work ending March 31, 2010.
– $1,296 for work on the Glendora Manager’s Association.
– $1,039.05 for work on the Glendora Municipal Employees Association.
– $2,727 for work with the Police Officer’s Association.
– $1,620 for work with the Police Manager’s Association

For work completed between April 1 and April 30, he was paid $9,855.
– $5,427 for work with GMA.
– $1,161 for work with GMEA.
– $324 for work with POA.
– $2,943 for work with PMA.

For work between May 1 and May 31 he received $6,804.
– $2,106 for GMA
– $2,889 for GMEA
– $783 for POA
– $1,026 for PMA

For work between June 1 and June 30 he was paid $10,681.32. All of that work was with the GMEA. He was also paid $1,701 for work with the GMA during that time.

For work between July 1 and July 31, he received $6,993 for work with the GMEA.

He finally received $81 for work with the GMA at the end of July.

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Public vs. private pay round II: reader comment and more

I got an interesting letter from a reader last week who wanted to comment on my previous post exploring the merits of public vs. private employee pay and benefits.

She wasn’t able to post a comment on the story at the time, so I am taking the liberty to post her letter here. Enjoy.

I work as an accountant in the private sector, but have also worked in public sector. I see all the salary information, pension agreements, I can see personal files, level of education. I built excel sheets where I import salary data against level of education, and guess what, Ted? (Note: My friends from high school call me Ted. I hate it. My name is Daniel. UPDATE: I was not implying Allison is my friend. She isn’t. She accidentally called me Ted, which, sadly, isn’t uncommon) If you get an education, you make more than those who don’t, across the board. The real losers in this game are the people that believe that they suffer from outlier syndrome, and think that showing up for work everyday on time with no education beyond high school is going to make them a millionaire. We have raised, in my opinion, two generations of individuals that live under the entitlement system, they feel underpaid because they are so out of touch with reality.

The reality is that an employee is an expense and a liability to an employer, public and private. The people that get paid well, understand their place on the balance sheet and income statement. They are involved with the business more than just 9 to 5. They seek out new business, bring ideas about cost reduction. They don’t use up every hour of their sick allowance or personal days. In short, they minimize their expense to the company and maximize their
ability to contribute to income. Have you ever met a dedicated employee that also takes every single paid day off that they can? Is this in the best interest of the company to have an employee out on personal leave, sick leave, and also vacation 20 to 30 business days a year? It’s work, not get paid to feel important while your at home playing with your G4 phone.

If I went to our CEO and started telling that person I was underpaid and deserved a COLA adjustment, there’s a high probability that I would be laid off, because that request is not rooted in reality. Human beings are priceless. Employees are expenses that must be managed for a business to remain profitable, or for a public service agency to maintain funds for appropriate

In the coming decade, we are going to have the crap taxed out of business and individuals, so we are still in a trend where there are going to be fewer and fewer resources. The time for belt tightening is here, and won’t have any real upward movement for several years. We will have a better economy and better pay when the indicators start perking up, new home starts, jobless
claims, CPI, etc. Those indicators are very real, and are the reason everyone
can’t “make bank” like we did in the 90’s.



I don’t want to dissect this in depth, but I do want to offer up a couple comments.

First, I think her initial hypothesis is right and wrong. I went to college and I have plenty of friends with degrees who are underpaid and overworked. In fact, much of the empirical data (and here) out now suggests a college degree doesn’t exactly mean you are going to be swimming with Scrooge McDuck. That may contribute to people’s perception of being under paid, i.e., they believe they should be paid more because their worth – based on education, intelligence, experience, etc. – is more than their value – actual job duties.

As for the paragraph on valuable employees who go beyond what is asked, I think the conundrum a lot of people face today is motivation and priorities. For career driven individuals whose work is their life, this statement makes sense and the ends justify the means.

For the average worker, they believe the basic 9-5 aspects of their job, done well, are credit enough to earn a wage that allows them to provide for their family, live somewhat comfortably (I’m not talking Mariah Carey comfortable) have security, the ability to continue their way of life past retirement, and – the big change in today’s world – the opportunity to have a life outside work that provides fulfillment. Is that possible when – in order to get a raise, better pay, have job security – you are actually not asked to do your job, you are asked to do your job and someone else’s? Is that fair? Does fair matter?

Last, I want to address this statement: “Human beings are priceless. Employees are expenses that must be managed for a business to remain profitable, or for a public service agency to maintain funds for appropriate programming.”

Employees hate to hear they are a dime a dozen. Even more, they hate to be looked at as mules, there to be worked to provide for someone else’s riches. But Allison’s point can’t be overlooked. Businesses have to do what is necessary to survive at times. What is difficult is being able to tell when it is survival and when it is greed. (On both sides of the coin, employees and employers)

In the end, what is the more successful business? One where managers are able to boost production and profit at all costs and keep a select group of executives highly paid and successful or one where the mass of employees are happy and successful and the profit margin is marginalized?

Depends on your definition of success.

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