(11/18) The employees of the town of Emmitsburg are generally underpaid, according to a human resources consultant who spoke at Monday night's town meeting.
Renee McNally, of HR Solutions, recommended that employees receive a 15 percent salary adjustment. She was asked to compile a report by Town Manager Dave Haller.
"Don't shoot the messenger on any of this," McNally said. "We're very behind."
Her study was done looking at similar markets and the experience, leadership, supervision and skills needed for each position, McNally said.
Bumping every salary up by 15 percent would cost the town about $150,000, she said.
"I'm guessing that's a huge jump for you guys and something you don't want to do right now," McNally said.
Instead, she suggested they increase gradually, for example, 5 percent now and another 5 percent in six months.
Another issue McNally noticed in her study was an unevenness in some salaries. She said there were two sewer water operator trainees, and one was paid nearly $10,000 more than the other.
There have been recent years when town staff have gone without a cost-of-living salary adjustment, Haller said. When they have received such pay increases, he said, they have been small.
"After 10 years, you're 15 percent behind," Haller said.
If the town is looking to give raises, McNally said she would start with the employees who are paid significantly lower than their market value. She used Haller an an example, saying that if he were to retire, it would cost the town significantly more to replace him. She based this on the skills and experience needed for the job.
Commissioners President Tim O'Donnell asked Haller if departing employees ever said they were leaving because of not being paid enough.
That rarely happens, Haller said. The town once offered more competitive salaries and was always a pleasant place to work, he said.
"A lot of us work places because we don't have to hate where we go to work every day," Haller said.
Commissioner Jennifer Mellor said she would support looking closer into McNally's suggestions.
"We do have a problem," she said.
McNally handed the commissioners a spreadsheet with current staff salaries and what they could be after an increase.
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