BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

October 11, 2005

9:00 a.m.

Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 5/31/06

 

Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. PUBLIC COMMENT

 

None.

 

2. WORK SESSION

 

a. Compensation Plan Project Scope

 

Greta Utecht, Management Services, recalled four and a half years ago she started as the Human Resources Manager and at that point they had just completed a scoping study completed by Mercer.With regard to compensation, she said they indicated they had some issues at the top of their pay plan with regard to compensation and they had a point factor system that was aged, but still had integrity.She said their recommendations for fixing the system were expensive.†† She said they had lived with the current system and had to come to the Board more often with classification and compensation issues because the system is starting to break down.She said they have to review it in a more systemic way than in the past.She explained that they canít provide a compensation system that is flexible enough to provide career development opportunities attractive enough to bring young new people into their system.

 

Utecht wanted direction after the work session that the market should pay a larger role in their compensation system, that they define what their market should be and where they want Lane County positioned.She also wanted to know if they think the project framework is an effective way to move forward.

 

Utecht explained that the work before the Board focuses on supervisors and managers because that group is causing most of the pressure at the County.She said a lot of classifications have only one individual, and until they address the positions at the far end of the scale, they canít do anything with those in the middle or below.She added there are issues with the engineering series, nurses and medical-related positions, and IT positions.She said until they repair what is going on at the top end it was impossible to do anything with the lower level positions.She thought they should re-examine the salary and the position before they go out for the Internal Auditor.She also wanted to know what the Board wanted to do with Management Services and hiring an Assistant County Administrator.

 

Morrison said she looked at the past vacancies they filled in the different departments and the number of applicants against the internal ones.She indicated sometimes there were no internal people.She said it doesnít seem like people are advancing internally. She was concerned about that.

 

Dwyer asked about the impact statewide.He said when they are in PERS bargaining, they utilize other segments of government to justify what it is they are doing.

 

Bruce Larson, Fox, Lawson & Associates, indicated that one of the questions for management jobs is the definition of who you are competing with when looking at other agencies.He said Lane Countyís competition would be the jurisdictions on this side of the mountains.He noted there was some difference in someone coming in from the private sector.He commented that this is not one labor market and in the lower level jobs the people will apply from Lane County.He said as they move up the organization, the pool of applicants starts to shift.He said at the professional level it could be at the statewide market and for the managers it could be a regional market.He noted with the issue of internal equity versus the market, they used to have a point value for jobs for what should be paid. He commented that jobs change daily and those kinds of systems are obsolete and expensive.He added if they change their classification structure to deal with broad classes, the issue goes away because the FTE requirements are not as high.He said they could use the dollars to speed the process up.

 

Green commented that if they define something too broad, it becomes a gray area.He said they have to have one definition so they could pinpoint the specifics versus the broad overview.

 

Larson said in defining a class, it becomes more about focusing on the type and level of work as opposed to the specific duties.He said in looking at and grouping the classifications, the same characteristics flow.He said they know in the market place that a director of information technology does have a different market value than a director of HR or finance.He said the classification could take care of itself with the type and level of work.

 

Utecht indicated that a job classification doesnít have to be the same as a job description.She said the advantage of having the classification broader is that a supervisor in one department could see if there was a job in another department at the same classification level.If they have the same skill level they would apply, or put in for a transfer.

 

Larson commented that structures could be built for a level of work and flexibility to deal with the market to solve the problem.He commented that broader classes would solve problems with no adverse effects.

 

Sorenson reported that a critique of the program is lower compensated jobs.He said the reasons he heard workers like working for Lane County is good pay and good benefits, including health care and retirement.He said that is part of what people look for in any job situation.He asked if they were going to study all levels or just the higher end.He asked what problem they needed to fix.

 

Jan Wilbur, Management Services, responded that at the lower levels they always strived to provide classification opportunities within the market or better.She added at the higher level, in one grade of manager, they might have seven individual managers and it lowers their flexibility.She said at upper levels they are at least ten percent under market and some areas are greater than that.She commented for directors, they are at least 15% under market.

 

Sorenson asked if turnover was a factor.

 

Utecht indicated that the reason they have low turnover in the people who had been there longer is because they have paid for that.She said they are paying for it for their retiree health benefits.She said it is an enormous benefit for people and for people to leave that is difficult to do.She added the current average age of their directors is 53.She said they are about to have a number of people retiring.She noted the age of the people they have brought in to the organization isnít lowering the average age.She didnít think people who are coming in today would stay for a long period of time.She said their compensation package is not attractive enough to be competing and attracting the level of employees they need in positions for the future.

 

Larson said they should start the review with 180 non-represented employees because they donít have to go through a bargaining process.

 

Dwyer commented that there is public resentment about high salaries for government employees.He asked how that is alleviated at the top level, because they wonít be able to overcome that.

 

3. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

4. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

None.

 

6. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 10:50 a.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary