County approves pay plan study for $18,000 fee

The Marion County Board of Commissioned approved its Monday meeting spending about $18,000 to have a pay plan study done by McGrath Consulting Group Inc. of Wonder Lake, Ill,

In addition, director Keith Beatty, Kaw Valley Engineering, continued the discussion regarding a design proposal for the Marion County transfer station at its current location at a cost of $1.4 million with a contingency plan built in.

Pay plan study

After the April 9 commission meeting when some employees took a $35 hit on their single Blue Cross Blue Shield policy, the commission, this week, hired a company review aspects of their pay plan.

The commissioners, said Tina Spencer, county clerk, directed her to send letters to all employees letting them know they were looking into this study.

Five consulting services provided quotes—some for parts of their plans—and others not.

On some of those plans, Spencer said she didn’t think the job description portion needed to be redone, and at a cost ranging from $6,000-$9,000.

In determining which company would be the best based on cost and services offered, the commission approved McGrath Human Resources Consulting, but with the $9,000 job description component.

Spencer talked about what the overview of the pay plan would like at this point.

Some of those areas included scope of services, the jobs and providing recommendations about whether the job titles need to be consolidated or expanded, she said.

Other areas Spencer noted involved a policy recommendation for holiday pay for employees and interim employees called on to run the department in the department head’s absence. She also mentioned developing a comprehensive labor market salary survey.

“(That market salary survey) could use county, city and whatever documentation they use,” she said, “to develop our county’s plan.”

Spencer said: “Here is what the county people are doing and here is the fair wage for what they are doing.

“And here’s what it will cost the county, and the steps to get there, if we are not there.”

When Commissioner Randy Dallke looked at the comparison of quotes sheet, he said: “They all want a lot of cash dollars to do this.”

History of consulting firms

Commission chairwoman Dianne Novak questioned Spencer about which consulting firms the county used in previous years.

“The League of Kansas Municipalities used to offer a service like this, and the county jumped on it, and there was a committee of employees and department heads that assigned points to positions,” she said.

“The league implemented our initial pay plan and after that they stopped doing it.”

The Austin Peters Group Inc., which quoted $34,650, and would include on-site visits for data collecting, interviews and questions and answers.

As for putting the plan into action, the Austin Peters Group would offer support and training and cost scenarios set up to minimize employer cost.

The quote was based on 86 employees, more or less, but that amount could be adjusted.

The Austin Peters Group was used by the county to put the pay plan in effect, which exists today, Spencer said.

“We used those folks again in 2014, and they did a limited study of only a few positions to see if we are where we should be in the market,” Spencer said.

“It wasn’t comprehensive, and only a few of the county’s positions were studied. That market study using only a few positions was $6,000-$8,000.”

McGrath Consulting Group Inc. were granted winning bid.

Other pay plan bidders

Other bids included the Arnold Group at $13,700, but with a salary survey at $8,325 and job analysis and job description at $5, 375.

OMNI Human Resource Management bid $11,375 and in the service included compensation analysis and adjustment to current job descriptions comparable to market benchmark roles/titles and support and training provided.

Evergreen Solutions LLC quoted $32,500 and noted that more than three onsite visits would be an additional $1,500 each.

The group analysis and development indicated it would include data collection from online forms and custom solutions to choose from with training provided and web-based tool provided for future maintenance.

County counselor Brad Jantz, who recently replaced Susan Robson, said most public jobs are “just a different animal (than private business).”

Commission Kent Becker said the pay plan was not something that was budgeted for 2018, but Spencer said the study would be a general expense

Novak said she would be in favor of McGrath Human Resources Consulting if we could come up with money in the budget.

“That’s not, to me, a scary number ($18,000),” she said.

Becker questioned if the commission would want to go ahead and spend the $18,000 or wait until next year.

“It would be nice to have the information,” he said.

Spencer said: “And within the general fund (knowing it’s not a tiny number), but you would have flexibility in your current budget to cover that.”

Transfer station

Beatty with Kaw Engineering didn’t discuss sizes with respect to the transfer station, but he did lay out a plan involving the current facility and adding on to the east.

According to a drawing Beatty presented, he said a new tipping floor would be added for trash, and then once that’s in place, the next step would be in repairing the current tipping floor, which has deep cracks and rebar visible outside the concrete.

Marion County residents Margaret Wilson and Eileen Sieger both questioned Beatty about recycling.

To ease their concerns, Beatty said the old tipping floor would be used as a recycling area.

Hillsboro mayor adds input

Hillsboro Mayor Lou Thurston, also present at the meeting said, his council’s concern was regarding recycling as well.

“With the rendition of the transfer station,” Thurston said, “we plan to maintain our city trash service, get an automated trash truck and have recycle curb service.”

One concern Thurston said he has is the idea of reinstating the sales tax to pay for the upgrades to the transfer station.

Dallke was concerned about whether the engineering firm could hold to the amount quoted based on what can come up during construction and was in favor of the sales tax.

Beatty said: “Am I comfortable with our numbers? I am human.

“But if you ask me if I think we can stay within the budgeted amounts, I am comfortable with what we quoted.”

Novak also said she remembers when the commission was told that if the transfer station could stay at $2 million or less, no additional sales tax would be needed.

“Depends on what else you spend money on,” Spencer said. Becker said he is ready to move forward, and Novak agreed.

The commission will be approving the pre-design contract with Kaw Valley in the amount of $26,000 for a full survey of the site and doing the initial development at its meeting April 23.

An additional contract for the design and construction phases of the project will follow.

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