PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Personnel Department wants to switch up how salary increases are done for managers and non-union personnel.
Personnel Director Michael Taylor is pitching a move away from the step system currently in place to an open range. He believes the open-range model will provide more flexibility in determining raises for workers.
"It is designed really to provide greater flexibility with pay. It works very well with a pay-for-performance system. The other flexible piece is with recruitment and the appointment process. It gives us a little bit more leverage in terms of negotiating," he said.
The step system outlines a number of 2.5 percent pay increase levels that employees could move to at the discretion of the administration. Instead, Taylor would like to tie increases to performance reviews. For example, should an employee score a three on the performance review, that would equate to a 1.25 percent increases. At the same time, others could receive a five and that would result in as much as a 3 percent increase.
Taylor said that will help address workers who may have been there for a year, have done good work, but the review may not warrant a full step increase. This would at least give those employees something.
He added that it would take longer for an employee to work through the ranges than the current step system. He said there are only a certain number of steps and might not take too long to get to the maximum.
"It gives a lot more room for growth. People won't grow out of the pay scale," he said.
The City Council's Ordinance and Rules Committee voted in favor by a 3-2 vote of making such a change with Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo and Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers voting instead to table the conversation until a later date.
Mazzeo said she wouldn't support changing the step system because it wasn't that long ago when the city revamped its management and non-union scale.
"We were really listening to the councilors, the people, the public. It was a big, hefty jump at the time," Mazzeo said.
It was 2012 when the city spent $46,975 to bring in Stone Consultants to do a review of the scale. Of particular note, Stone found that the scale had not been updated in years and the pay for jobs trailed significantly from other areas.
The City Council passed a proposal that significantly hiked the pay scales in order to remain competitive in hiring and retaining employees. But, that was the extent of changes to the system. Mazzeo suggested the other councilors review that report to understand why the decisions were made before voting on making such a switch.
"It is a significant change," Mazzeo said.
Taylor said the consultants also called for an open-range system as well as for regularly adjusting the cost of living to the scale so the city doesn't trail behind the going rates again.
Taylor is also asking for an ordinance change linking the cost-of-living raises -- which are linked the entire pay scale and not an individual employee -- to the Consumer Price Index. Taylor said that would still require City Council approval to be effective but adding a specific index standardizes the determination for such an increase. He had also come before the City Council in the past asking to update the pay scales to account for inflation.
He said the move to open scale is just another implementation of the consultant's report and is in line with what the majority of communities in Massachusetts are doing.
"I had a big issue with the fact that the city did hire a consultant, did pay $47,000 to have it completed, and then chose to piecemeal the study and pick and choose what they wanted to adopt," Taylor said.
"If you are going to hire a consultant, you are hiring them as a certified expert to do a job. So they did that and yet, I've been back here in front of you with various changes basically implementing the study as a whole."
Mazzeo disagreed, saying the city took the consultant's recommendations and adapted the plan for the city of Pittsfield. She said the city couldn't afford to commit to such things as the cost-of-living raises every year nor raises every year.
"We worked hard at trying to take their recommendations and apply it to what Pittsfield could afford and what we could do. We want to value our employees, we wanted to try to pay them what they're worth -- if you still look at these pays they are not comparable to other areas in the commonwealth but we can only do so much," she said.
Nonetheless, Mazzeo was outvoted. Taylor said he'd like to make the shift by July 1, the start of the fiscal year. He said performance reviews are currently being done and he'd like to use the system for pay increases this year, and therefore would need to have everything in place to use it for budgeting purposes.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
YMCA Registering for Pittsfield CYC Basketball League
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Berkshire Family YMCA Pittsfield Branch is now accepting registrations for its CYC Basketball program for all boys and girls ages 4 to 12th grade. Facilitated by the Y's Pittsfield branch at 292 North St., with practice and game locations at gyms throughout Pittsfield, the league’s dates are from Nov. 9 through mid-March.
The Y's CYC Basketball House League provides a high-quality experience to every athlete, especially those who need it most. Every athlete is coached using the principles of positive coaching; has fun at practices and games; feels like an important part of the team regardless of performance; has respect for self, team-mates, coaches and officials; learns “life lessons” that have value beyond the court; and learns the skills, tactics and strategies of the game and improves as a player.
The Y is seeking volunteer coaches for the CYC Basketball House and Travel Leagues. The Y recognizes that coaches are the people who most directly make this all possible. The Y is committed to creating a positive culture, in which coaches, parents, officials and athletes work together to achieve our mission. In your role as a volunteer coach, you will work with our youth program members on skill development, safety, fair play, sportsmanship, and fun! The right candidate possesses organizational skills, patience, maturity, and dependability, along with sound character, strong morals, values, and personal ethics. CORI checks are required. For more information and to apply, contact the program director Brandon Rousseau at 413-499-7650 ext. 233 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit bfymca.org/cycbasketball for program costs and the most up-to-date program information.
The center's Executive Director Ben Sosne gave a brief update to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority last week and said board should expect a grand opening in the first half of January.
click for more
The international home decor company's new $5 million call center will employ upwards of 300 people in the coming months in a newly renovated section of the Clock Tower Building fully furnished, of course, with Wayfair products.
click for more
Councilors spent about half of Tuesday's meeting debating a request from the city to allow unrestricted parking on South Church Street but determined they were not ready to make such a decision.
click for more
After a brief executive session Tuesday, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority voted to support Berkshire Kind's intent to purchase land in the business park and erect a 20,000 square foot grow facility.
click for more
Local President Robert Leary led a press conference Monday afternoon in front of the Fire Department's headquarters on Columbus Avenue to announce that the union had voted to endorse Tyer.
click for more