NORTH OGDEN -- Pay is too low for employees in North Ogden, according to the mayor and the council-appointed North Ogden Benefits Committee.
The committee suggested the city take a retention strategy with employees, rather than the cost-containment strategy the city has been using the past few years.
The city appointed the seven-member committee in mid-2012. The committee was made up of North Ogden residents who work both in the private and public sector. Employees Annette Spendlove, from human resources, and Finance Director Bryan Steele also helped on the committee.
Committee Chairman Neal Berube recently addressed the mayor and council and paid high praise to Spendlove and Steele for their work on the committee.
"They are evidence of the great employees you have in your city," Berube said.
The committee compared North Ogden employees' salaries and benefits to positions in cities of similar size, of larger size and from the private sector. They divided their findings into three different categories.
In all three categories the committee hit a benchmark stating the employees should be getting paid between 95 and 105 percent of what the other entities or cities are paying. North Ogden employees make 89 percent of what employees in cities of similar size earn and 84 percent of what employees are making in larger cities.
The committee was not able to get accurate findings in the private sector, Berube said, because most private sector entities did not want to release salary numbers.
As far as benefits go, the committee found North Ogden to be a little bit better. In the private sector most companies pay only 80 percent of medical premiums. In North Ogden the city pays 90 percent. Pensions are also paid in North Ogden, where in most private sector businesses pensions are rare.
All cities have pension plans because the state requires it, Berube said.
"It does not make up for the shortfall (in pay) in regard to the compensation ratio," Berube said.
Berube went on to say that the city council needs to look at why the employees and city needed to examine compensation and benefits.
"Working conditions can cause people to look at that," he said of compensation and benefits. "Are you providing a good work environment? Is the council at odds with each other or with the mayor?"
Berube said that in the private sector those are some of the first things looked at when employees are questioning their salaries and benefits. He suggested it also rings true in the city's situation.
"This is politics, and politics are involved ... perhaps you might want to ask yourselves that question," he said regarding the climate of North Ogden city.
The major recommendation made by the committee was that the city immediately establish a written policy and procedures for the administration of salaries and benefits, including a review schedule for the information presented by the committee. The committee also suggested that the city regularly review salaries to see how they compare.