As we reported today, the Tacoma City Council this week approved a new compensation philosophy that drops the target pay ceiling for city employees.
The councils action reduces the citys current standard which targets paying city employees better than about 70 percent of employees doing similar work to a standard thats now above 60 percent of the market.
What city officials didnt readily say during reporting for the story Wednesday was how exactly the new approach would affect current employees.
Today, City Manager T.C. Broadnax and Human Resources Director Joy St. Germain said it wont affect them or their current pay levels.
We have a pay plan, so its not changing anything for current employees, St. Germain said.
Broadnax, who noted the story accurately reflected the citys compensation philosophy, added some employees may wrongly believe the new approach means theyll automatically get a 10 percent pay cut.
Thats not accurate, he said.
Where the new philosophy can have an affect for current employees is during the citys future pay level adjustments and in labor contract negotiations, they said. The philosophy is meant to provide the councils guidance to city officials during such future reviews of the citys various job classifications, St. Germain said.
But its not presupposed, she added. We do bargain in good faith.
City officials will consider the new 60th percentile standard, as well as a variety of other competitiveness and budget factors when considering future pay levels, Broadnax added.
Well evaluate where our employees compare to their peers in the market, he said. But then well also look at such things as if we have a problem retaining employees and whether our competitors are taking employees from us From all those kinds of viewpoints, well begin to talk about what the appropriate salary should be for those positions.
During such pay scale reviews, if its determined a particular job classification is being paid more than what the city believes should be the top pay range, pay for employees within that class wouldnt change, Broadnax added.
Were not going to come in and say your salary should be reduced down to that (new target) level, Broadnax said. Your salary would simply stay the same.
Mayor Marilyn Strickland this week said the council was making the changes to its five-year old compensation philosophy due to the citys current fiscal realities. City officials recently made $94 million in budget adjustments and project that even more cuts will be needed in Tacomas next general fund budget.