SLO Council discusses employee pay study

August 20, 2014

sloBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

The San Luis Obispo City Council has weighed and accepted the validity of a study that suggests 50 percent of city employees are underpaid.

In preparation for upcoming union negotiations, the council opted Tuesday to accept the benchmark compensation report prepared by human resources staff under the guidance of a consultant. The study compares city employee salaries and benefits to those public workers receive in other cities.

As comparisons, the report used several coastal California cities, including Monterey, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. The only two local cities used as comparisons were Paso Robles and Santa Maria.

The study concluded that 50 percent of San Luis Obispo employees receive pay below the median for their positions, while 42 percent are at or near the median and 8 percent are above it.

On Tuesday, council members by and large praised the report, complementing the work of human resources staff.

“We won’t have to debate the validity of the data,” Mayor Jan Marx said.

But, Councilman Dan Carpenter said the study was not as helpful as he would have hoped for. Carpenter criticized human resources staff for not including local private sector figures in its side-by-side comparisons with San Luis Obispo and other California cities.

Carpenter also noted that the police officer compensation comparisons did not contain any data from any San Luis Obispo County cities or the county sheriff’s office.

Human Resources Director Monica Irons said a contractual agreement between the city and its police union precludes staff from using pay comparisons between San Luis Obispo police and other local law enforcement in city compensation studies.

Base salaries for police officers in San Luis Obispo range from about $65,000 to $99,000. Paso Robles police officer salaries range from approximately $62,000 to $79,000.

Councilwoman Kathy Smith offered praise both for human resources staff and their report, but also said she found it concerning that the study indicates that utilities department employees are underpaid. A raise in utilities worker pay would trigger a raise in water rates, Smith said.

After discussion, the council filed the report, which they will reference in upcoming meetings on employee compensation. The council will meet next week in closed session to discuss a bargaining strategy and will then discuss the matter in open session on Sept. 23.

Union negotiations will likely begin shortly after. The city’s agreement with its largest employee union expires at the end of the year.

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28 Comments

  1. mkaney says:

    There are certain things that are occurring here that I would define as corruption, and ought to be prosecuted under some law. For example, when you are negotiating a contract, agreeing to a clause that “precludes staff from using pay comparisons between San Luis Obispo police and other local law enforcement in city compensation studies.” That is not the behavior of adults who are fully mentally competent. That is criminal behavior, it is conspiracy and concealment.

    Also, saying things that don’t mean anything because you have redefined what a word means even though the world at large has a different understanding. For example, using the word “salary” when in fact the employees receive overtime. That is criminal behavior. It is fraud.

    I could go on, but you get the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. achillesheal says:

    I hired a consultant to do a study and they compared me with brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake and arrived at the conclusion that I should date more beautiful women iin much greater quantities. I should also be paid on par with these guys as I was in a high school play.

    It was money well spent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Rich in MB says:

    “Human Resources Director Monica Irons said a contractual agreement between the city and its police union precludes staff from using pay comparisons between San Luis Obispo police and other local law enforcement in city compensation studies.”

    Of course the Public Employee Unions want that in their contract…then it hides their ridiculous pay and benefit packages!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • Dan Carp says:

      Very astute observation Rich in MB!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • SamLouis says:

        Dear Mr. Carpenter;

        I would like to propose a simple test for your fellow councilpersons and upper city staff. Would it be possible to hold a small mirror next to their noses/mouths to see if they fog the mirror? I cannot imagine any living soul would have the untamed stupidity and arrogance to propose that which they do. Hopefully this would not run afoul of any union rules.

        If any of them actually fog the mirror, perhaps those that do could then be sent for EEG’s to determine if they’re brain-dead? There will be a reckoning, Mr. Carpenter. Your colleagues and stuff don’t see to grasp that fact quite yet.

        Cordially;

        Sam

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. wineguyjc says:

    So here is a simple question. Did the compensation study take into account all the graft and corruption going at the City of San Luis Obispo? Does it account for the guy making a little on the side (see calcoast article)? Did it account for the Union Boss, who misappropriates City assets for personal gain (see calcoast article)? Did it account for the contraband trafficking cops extra income (See calcoast article)? Did it account for the dope dealing cop’s extra income (see calcoast article)? Did it account for the drug cultivating and trafficking utilities worker’s extra income? Did it account for the utilities worker’s extra income for falsifying paperwork to secure low income assistance? Did it account for the Utilities workers’ running their side businesses on City time using City resources? Did it account for the streets worker who attempted to secure services from a hooker on City time? Does it account for staff going to the gym on City time and/or using City vehicles to go to the gym during the day? Does it account for the idiot director who rides their bike on City time everyday? Did it account for the planner who provides consulting services to local developers on projects they review at the City? Now if the compensation study didn’t account for all that then NO ON MEASURE G!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  5. SamLouis says:

    Why don’t you try using some cities what are actually comparable to SLO?

    Let’s start with Santa Maria, Lompoc and Paso Robles. Then let’s add in Goleta, Gilroy, Camarillo, Tulare, Hanford and Chico.

    Oh, wait, that wouldn’t provide support for the agenda of RAISING compensation.

    Do y’all think you’re fooling anyone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  6. SamLouis says:

    How about this? Reduce salaries/wages/benefits for SLO City employees by 20% across the board. All those employees who feel they can do better elsewhere would of course be free to move on. There would certainly be lines of qualified people to apply for their jobs if any of them actually choose to move on.

    It’s a win-win-win. The taxpayer’s money is better utilized, people who want the jobs will be placed in them and those who feel they can do better will be gone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  7. Pelican1 says:

    Seriously? Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica? You forgot Carmel, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco! What a farce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  8. Mr. Holly says:

    This is a done deal according to Marx’s staement. Sounds pretty much like a back room deal to me, since no one at the city seems to be opposed to it.
    So taxpayers do not forget about that sales tax that will be needed to pay for this. Oh they will move the money around so it doesn’t look like it came from the sales tax. But the end result will be that the citizens of SLO will do with less while staff and employees will do with more.
    Atascadero should be watching this as they are next in line for a fleecing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • SLOBIRD says:

      Oh, there is no doubt that Tom O’Malley has every intention of giving raises to City employees as soon as he can after his sales tax dollars start rolling in. He will be using the SLO salary study no doubt! I was recently at a Council Meeting on business and his grandstanding while recognizing employees at the beginning of the meeting, saying how they have “sacrificed” so much for working and living in Atascadero. He said he was looking for ways to monetarily reward them for their dedication. This for a City government that only serves the public 4 days a week as City Hall is closed to the public on Friday’s. Very convenience for 3 day weekends!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      • Mr. Holly says:

        Bingo. Don’t worry that new sales tax, if passed, will be honored as submitted which is a general sales tax that is earmarked for “all other vital needs” I guess that will cover the $8000+ a year that O’Malley gets for insurance. He’s the only one on the council that receives that. Over his 12 year tenure that around $100,000. I wonder where it really goes as he also gets his SLO County retirement.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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