City of Craig staff compensation will remain flat in 2019 | CraigDailyPress.com

City of Craig staff compensation will remain flat in 2019

This chart compares city of Craig staff cost-of-living increases to Boulder-Denver and national Consumer Price Indices.

CRAIG  — A survey comparing the compensation — salaries and benefits —  of city of Craig staff indicates wages here are as good or better than comparable municipalities, prompting city staff to recommend to the Craig City Council that most wages remain flat in 2019.

“The survey showed employees are compensated very well, and we see no need at this time to make adjustments in 2019. Benefits in general show employees are well taken care of,” City Manager Peter Brixius reported in a budget workshop, held prior to the regular city council meeting Tuesday, Nov 13.

Council has not approved any cost of living increases since 2014.

The report, completed by Employers Council on behalf of the city, shows that, from 1998 to 2018, city cost-of-living increases, at 58 percent, have risen faster than both the Consumer Price Index for Boulder-Denver (54.84 percent) and a national measure of CPI (50.61 percent).

Council members were provided with a table showing salary ranges for each position within each department in the city, the number of years of service for each person, his or her annual wage compared with Employers Council average market wage, and the difference between current city staff wages and market wages.

Of the 18 people earning below market averages, most are still earning steps up in salary grades. Brixius said it is also important to note that the market wage is an average, with a 10- to 15-percent standard deviation.

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“At this point, I feel our employees are very well compensated, with the exception of a couple individuals,” Mayor John Ponikvar said. “Past councils have been giving raises above CPI.”

Brixius speculates there were likely economic conditions in the area requiring previous councils to take measures to retain staff and remain competitive.

Eventually, if the cost-of-living increase continues to be frozen, the city plans to equalize with market averages.

While an across-the-board raise is off the table, city staff will consider revising the step program to be less compressed, so that increased wages reflect experience. Currently, many staff members  “are at the top of pay scale within five years,” Ponikvar said.

Also, raises are being considered for two or three employees who have “topped out on steps” and are also compensated below market averages, Brixius added.

Council member Chris Nichols was among those agreeing that, since council would not be offering a cost-of-living increase, there should be increases for staff topped out and not yet at the market average.

“… Bring those people up,” he said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.