Wilmington, NC – The signs abound.
For months, Wilmington's firefighters have been vocal in their complaints about pay. The city is having trouble recruiting for engineering positions. And attracting applicants for top level positions often requires salaries far beyond the retirees they replace.
Wilmington's Human Resources Director Al McKenzie points to these and other factors to suggest that the city's pay scale is out of what with the marketplace.
The City Council recently approved more than $200,000 dollars for a study of city salaries. Critics in the media and in on-line forums have asked why the work couldn't be done for less, possibly by keeping it in-house.
But McKenzie says Wilmington's study is about much more than comparing pay scales.
"Every employee in the city of Wilmington will have an opportunity to sit down with a consultant, express their concerns about what issues might be impacting their particular job and classification."
The result, according to McKenzie, may be completely rewritten job descriptions and possibly entirely new pay scales for different types of jobs.
To yield results with this level of detail, McKenzie says the survey will have to do a lot more than simply compare salary data from similar cities.
"For a project of this magnitude to be done well, it requires a dedicated period of time with a single focus that we really, truly don't have the resources on staff to dedicate for that block of time."
McKenzie adds that hiring an outside firm for the salary study avoids accusations of bias from any city employees not happy with the results.
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