City of Somerville
Massachusetts

Agenda Item
193632
Ordinance Ordained.
Oct 25, 2012 7:00 PM

Requesting the amendment of Ordinances 2-322 and 2-323 pursuant to the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board recommendations.

Information

Department:Mayor’s OfficeSponsors:
Category:Mayor's RequestPurposes:Ordinance

Official Text

To the Honorable Board:

 

I respectfully request that your Board amend §§2-322 and 2-323 of the Somerville Code of Ordinances pursuant to the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board recommendations.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Joseph A. Curtatone

Mayor

Meeting History

Aug 16, 2012 7:00 PM Video City Council Special Meeting
RESULT:REFERRED FOR RECOMMENDATION
Sep 10, 2012 6:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee of the Whole
draft Draft

The Municipal Compensation Advisory Board (MCAB) was charged with the task of providing oversight and final approval of a project, undertaken by the Collins Center at the University of Massachusetts, to design a classification and compensation system for non-union employees working for the City of Somerville. The project was initiated to comply with an ordinance requirement to convene the MCAB in every even numbered year and to update job descriptions and compensation too recruit and retain qualified staff and to reward high employee performance. For the FY07-FY13 period, the average base increase for union employees ranges from 9.33% to 27.34%. From FY07 to the present, non-union employees have not received a salary increase.

The project involved

· interviewing employees,

· reviewing job descriptions,

· rating/grading positions based on difficulty, complexity and responsibility,

· surveying salaries in comparable communities to develop salary ranges (Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Lowell, Malden, Melrose, Newton, Quincy and Waltham),

· assigning pay ranges,

· Implementing pay scales based on an employee’s current pay, years of city service and years of service in the position,

· Establishing years of service adjustments,

· Recommending adjustments to bring salaries to market ranges,

· Tying movement through pay scales to performance appraisals, (requiring new city policy articulating standards and training to assure accurate and standardized performance appraisals).

The effective implementation date of this proposal is July 1, 2012, with future step increases on July 1 of subsequent years. (New hires would follow a different schedule.)

The following information was requested by the committee:

· A breakdown of the number of non-union employees who have left the city’s employment (Alderman White),

· Information regarding whether exit interviews were conducted (Alderman White),

· The operating budgets of the compared communities, the number of employees in each of those communities, including a breakdown of union vs. non-union employees in each (Chairman Gewirtz),

· Information on where employees who left the city’s employment went to work (Chairman Gewirtz),

· A breakdown of departments showing the number of employees who left the city’s employment during the past 5 years and where those individuals went to work (Chairman Gewirtz), and

· A salary benchmark from the cities/towns within Route 128, from the Mass Municipal Association, to measure this study’s recommendations (Alderman White).

RESULT:KEPT IN COMMITTEE
Oct 9, 2012 6:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee of the Whole
draft Draft

Ms. Kloos distributed and reviewed some information in response to the questions raised by the committee during the September 10, 2012 committee meeting. Mr. Bent spoke about the communities considered for comparison and stated that Framingham was rejected because it was too far from Somerville, Worcester was rejected because it was too large and too far from Somerville, Everett was rejected due to its population size and Medford was rejected due to its population size and its level of economic development. (Also, no comparable data was received from Medford.) Mr. Bent noted that employee salaries of those rejected communities were looked at prior to making the decision to exclude them from the study and Ms. Aicardi stated that salary information was not requested from the communities prior to their rejection, but budget information was. A resident asked why Melrose and Arlington were included, since their populations are much smaller than Somerville’s, and Ms. Aicardi replied that several factors were considered prior to presenting the data to the Compensation Advisory Board.

Ms. Kloos explained that after the 2006 wage study, employee raises were capped and that action, combined with the plan not being implemented, led to the present situation, i.e., the salaries of some positions never even made it to the lower side of the suggested pay grades. As a result, some employees will be receiving large salary increases now, to bring them to where they should be, according to the employment market. Ms. Kloos added that of the 93 individuals who left the employment of the City since 2007, she estimates that 30-40 were due to salary issues.

Solicitor Wright clarified that the only matter the committee, (and the Board of Aldermen), would be voting on is the actual ordinance creating salary ranges and grade classifications. The Administration has the responsibility for setting any progression steps and/or raises. Any increases in salary lines would have to come before the Board of Aldermen for approval. Mr. Bean informed the members that a supplemental appropriation would be needed to cover the cost of the proposed raises and that the raises would be retroactive to July 1, 2012.

The following information was requested by the committee:

· A comparison of grades/positions in the current ordinance vs. the proposed ordinance (Alderman Trane). Solicitor Wright provided that information prior to adjournment of the meeting,

· A written description for each grade level, (A, B, C, etc.), detailing the criteria for each grade (Alderman Trane). Ms. Aicardi will provide the data, but she cautioned the members not to suggest changes, adding that the data should be considered in isolation,

· Additional data for the comparable communities, as the data provided this evening was inaccurate and did not answer the question asked at the September 10th committee meeting (Alderman White and Chairman Gewirtz). Mr. Bean provided the budgetary portion of the information prior to adjournment of the meeting.

Solicitor Wright informed the members that School Department employees and School Committee members were not part of this study and Ms. Rossetti stated that, on advice of the School Department’s counsel, School Committee members will not speak on this matter publicly.

Alderman Taylor questioned why the Clerks of Committees (COC) were not included in the study and Ms. Kloos replied that part time employees would be dealt with separately, at a later time. After requesting and receiving permission to comment on this matter, Clerk of Committees Peter Forcellese pointed out that there are several part time positions included in the study and asked what differentiated those positions from the COC positions. Ms. Kloos stated that part time individuals working less than 20 hours per week were excluded from this study. Mr. Forcellese noted that the COC positions were included in the 2006 study and ordinance. Alderman Taylor, Chairman Gewirtz and Alderman Heuston spoke about the work performed by the COC’s and expressed their desire to include them in this study.

Alderman Heuston’s motion that the Director of Personnel place the Clerk of Committees and Asst. Clerk of Committees positions into a classification level and consult with the President of the Board of Aldermen to establish the appropriate salary for those positions, was approved. **** SEE NOTE ABOVE ****

Alderman Taylor questioned the classification of the Treasurer/Collector position in relation to the Finance Director/City Auditor position and Ms. Aicardi explained that at the present time, the Finance Director also serves as the City Auditor. If and when the City Auditor’s position becomes a separate position, it would be placed in Grade Level B, along with the Treasurer/Collector, since both positions report to the Finance Director.

Chairman Gewirtz has scheduled the next Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss this issue for Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM.

RESULT:KEPT IN COMMITTEE
Oct 16, 2012 6:30 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee of the Whole
draft Draft

Chairman Gewirtz commented on the committees efforts to deal with this issue in a transparent manner and then reviewed the questions raised at the previous meeting. Ms. Kloos clarified why the Committee Clerks positions were not included in this study, noting that those positions would be include in the study to be conducted at a later date. Members of the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board (MCAB) answered questions and spoke about the methodology used in the study.

Chairman Gewirtz, explaining that it is her policy as Chairman, to allow individuals to speak at committee meetings, introduced Mr. Jim Thomas, a resident of Ward 6 who had reviewed the MCAB report on his own, and asked him to briefly address the committee on his interpretation of the report.. Aldermen Desmond and Connolly noted their objections to allowing members of the public to speak at this meeting and instead, requested that Mr. Thomas’ information be provided to the members and noted in the record. Aldermen Taylor and White stated that Mr. Thomas should be allowed to address the committee, and after a brief discussion on the matter, the City Solicitor was asked if it would be a violation of the open meeting law to allow public speakers without the meeting having been advertised as a public hearing. Mr. Wright informed the members that Rule 21 of the Rules of the Board of Aldermen states that “…Robert's Rules of Order shall be the authority on all questions of debate in committee wherever they do not conflict with the several rules of the board that apply to committees.”, therefore, it is permissible to allow public speakers, however, it is also appealable under Rule 16 of the Rules of the Board of Aldermen, which states that “Any member may sponsor a member of the public to address the board on any matter properly before the board unless such sponsorship is objected to by any member. Upon such objection, the address shall occur only by a two thirds vote of the entire membership.”

Chairman Gewirtz’s motion to allow Mr. Thomas to address the committee was defeated on a roll call vote of 3 in favor (Ald. Gewirtz, White and Taylor), 5 against (Ald. Lafuente, Desmond, Connolly, Heuston and Trane) and 3 absent (Ald. Roche, Sullivan and O’Donovan).

The committee discussed reassigning 2 positions to higher grade levels and Ms. Kloos stated that although she could not speak to the recommendation of the consultant, she had no objections. Ms. McGoldrick cautioned the members from making any changes to the grade levels since it could diminish the integrity of the study by affecting other positions in higher and/or lower grade levels. She suggested sending the study and the committee’s recommendations back to the Collins Center for re-factoring and said that not doing so undercuts the process used. Mr. Bent, Chairman of the MCAB, also recommended that the committee members consult with the Collins Center before making any changes. Alderman Taylor asked for guidance on how to handle this and Ms. Kloos stated that she could bring the matter to the Collins Center for review, but that city had no objection to the bump.

Alderman Desmond’s motion to move the position of Capital Projects Manager from Grade C to Grade B, was approved.

Alderman Trane’s motion to move the position of Administrative Aide from Grade F to Grade E and to re-title the position to Executive Administrative Aide, was approved.

Chairman Gewirtz explained that although she anticipates supporting this item when it is voted on by the Board of Aldermen at its next meeting, she wants to review the material from Mr. Thomas before then, therefore, she will vote against approval of the item at this meeting, and most likely in favor of approval at the Board of Aldermen meeting.

A motion to approve to amend §2-322 of the Somerville Code of Ordinances pursuant to the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board recommendations was passed on a roll call vote of 7 in favor, 1 against and 3 absent.

Motion to approve to amend §2-323 of the Somerville Code of Ordinances pursuant to the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board recommendations, as amended, was passed on a roll call vote of 7 in favor, 1 against and 3 absent. [Amendments: move the position of Capital Projects Manager from Grade C to Grade B and move the position of Administrative Aide from Grade F to Grade E and to re-title the position to Executive Administrative Aide.]

RESULT:APPROVED AS AMENDED. [7 TO 1]
AYES:John M. Connolly, Bruce M. Desmond, William A. White Jr., Thomas F. Taylor, Maryann M. Heuston, Tony Lafuente, Robert C. Trane
NAYS:Rebekah L. Gewirtz
ABSENT:Dennis M. Sullivan, William M. Roche, Sean T. O’Donovan
Oct 25, 2012 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

AMENDED: Ordinance 2-323 is Amended by Deleting the "Category: Elected City Officials" Table.

The "Category: Elected City Officials" Table is referred to the Legislative Matters Committee for further consideration.

RESULT:ORDINANCE ORDAINED. [UNANIMOUS]
AYES:John M. Connolly, Bruce M. Desmond, Dennis M. Sullivan, William A. White Jr., Maryann M. Heuston, Thomas F. Taylor, Tony Lafuente, Rebekah L. Gewirtz, Robert C. Trane
ABSENT:William M. Roche, Sean T. O’Donovan