County initiates hiring freeze

Organizational issues reason behind change

By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Vacancies within departments of Moffat County's administration and services will not be filled for approximately two months.
The Board of Moffat County Commissioners voted this week to freeze all county employment at their present levels. And, hirings that are deemed unessential will be held off for four-to-six weeks.
The main reason for the freeze is so the county can get a "snapshot" of its present workforce to help implement compensation and organizational plans, said Tom Skelding, Moffat County Human Resource Department director.
"We need to see what we have to figure out where we are, and then where we want to go," Skelding said. "This is part of the centralization efforts the county is working on. There are at least four positions that are open that I am aware of."
Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said the hiring freeze was not a reflection of the national economic downturn. Rather, she said this is a way to implement the compensation program.
The county is finalizing the compensation plan, which will bring county employees that are not earning fair wages up to at least 90 percent of market value, based on comparative research. County employees will also be receiving back pay from July based on the compensation adjustments. Research for some positions is not complete, and to help facilitate the complex process of researching, calculating and beginning the rolling back of pay, a hiring freeze was put in place for four to six weeks, Skelding said.
"We needed to be sure we put in the correct compensation, and make sure we are where we need to be," said Raftopoulos. "We wanted to stop everything, stabilize our employment, until we have [the plan] correctly settled."
While the county is restructuring the pay scale, it is also organizing the departments for efficiency. This countywide review is also a factor in the decision to enact the hiring freeze.
"We want to look at our organization, look at each department if a department has too many, and another department is short, we want to be able to balance that," said Debra Murray, Moffat County Administrative Services director. "We want to have a clear picture of where we're at, and work towards a business-like approach to managing the county, which the Commissioners have made a goal of theirs."
The first back-pay paychecks will be issued at the end of October. The undetermined compensation cases should see their designations and back-pay checks by late November, Skelding said.

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