Thursday, February 27, 2014
AMHERST — New classification and compensation plans are in place providing about 2 percent cost-of-living adjustments for non-union employees. Officials hope they should allow the town to better attract and retain employees.
The Select Board Monday unanimously adopted the plans that were brought forward by the Personnel Board, which last week voted 4-0 in favor of the classification scale and compensation study that will take effect July 1.
These plans include $93,748 in salary increases spread among the 54 non-union positions, such as administrative assistants, Jones Library department heads and the finance director and Department of Public Works superintendent.
Personnel Board Chairman Tony Butterfield said this is a professional grade classification and compensation system that allays concerns from some employees that they were being left behind colleagues in other communities, as well as those who are part of the town’s collective bargaining units.
A comprehensive study recently completed by Human Resources Services Inc. of Andover created a revised classification schedule that has 10 grades, depending on the various skills and responsibilities required by a position. Within each grade there are 11 steps that are based on performance, longevity and other factors.
“In general, most employees will be better off in this plan,” Butterfield said.
Town Manager John Musante said the impact for the town beyond this year will be more positions that have room to grow within their pay grade, rather than having numerous employees already at the top of their steps.
All employees are being placed on the scale at grades closest to where they are on the current scale, but not below, said Human Resources and Human Rights Director Deborah Radway.
She said the overall philosophy is that all non-union employees will get the dollar value of at least a 2 percent increase, with most workers having this money added to their base salaries.
Three employees at the top of the scale, though, will get a cash payment equivalent to a 2 percent raise instead of having this adjustment made part of the permanent salary.
“That’s just to give everybody who works for the town the parity of 2 percent wages,” Radway said
In subsequent years, the Personnel Board will evaluate a set cost-of-living adjustment for all non-union employees and bring forward a recommendation to the Select Board.