Town of Carbondale takes a look at employee wages
May 22, 2014
CARBONDALE — The town of Carbondale will have to increase wages for several of its employees if trustees approve changes to salary grades on June 10.
Last year, trustees approved a salary survey through the Mountain States Employers Council. It had been more than 10 years since the previous review, and though cost of living adjustments had been made in the interim, the town wanted to assess how its salaries compared with other Colorado municipalities.
"We had lost some employees to neighboring jurisdictions, and it raised the issue of our pay rates," Town Manager Jay Harrington said. "And it was time for a check in, anyway."
Based on the results, new brackets are proposed that set the midpoint of most salary grades on par or above the state's market average. Ranges for some supervisor positions were reduced from the average by about 10 percent to account for Carbondale's relatively small size.
"As you get into the bigger organizations that you may be comparing yourself, those jobs are supervising more employees," Harrington observed.
Six town employees are currently below the proposed minimums, and would receive a raise if the new ranges are approved. The estimated $23,000 cost of salary adjustments will be covered by previously budgeted funds.
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Those already within their suggested bracket probably won't see any immediate changes.
"It's not like everyone gets an instant raise or sees more money," said Harrington.
Instead, the new ranges would act as guidelines for future salary decisions and ongoing budgeting changes. "That's the tougher part of the process," Harrington admitted.
According to Harrington, most of the affected salaries are in the mid-range for town employees. Overall, he said he was fairly happy with how the town stacked up.
"I think statewide we were pretty good," he said. "The biggest surprise I had was that some of our labor-related jobs were more competitive on the market than I anticipated. Believe it or not, the labor rates in this region are less than the rates in the Front Range right now."
Harrington thinks the town has many benefits besides wages to help it stay competitive as an employer. "We're always thinking about can we treat our employees right and have a productive workplace," he said.