Last year the city retained a compensation consultant to make recommendations about the compensation of non-represented employees. His report was first considered by city council in July; council again spent time on it this week before it was tabled until next week.
The consultant’s report reflects the completion of a lot of very good work, and it was done at a cost lower than anticipated. But if all of the recommendations are adopted by city council, all city workers will in effect be unionized.
I say that because the city’s highest paid workers would receive, in addition to COLA increases, annual 5% step increases and not merit increases – just like the represented employees.
If this report is fully adopted by city council, the city will have lost an opportunity to start moving away from the “over-the-top” compensation negotiated by the city’s trade unions. There are stories in the press almost daily about cities having big financial problems because of excessive compensation; Edmonds is headed in that direction. Without reduced compensation citizens will be enduring higher property taxes, or reduced services.
The city should not be seeking to raise non-represented employee compensation; it should be seeking to curb the growth in compensation for represented employees.
Additionally, council should take into consideration that some of the compensation by some of the comparator cities is more theoretical than actual. Because some cities have gotten temporary concessions from employees that have not been sought from our employees. Concessions need to be benchmarked. The consultant has done an excellent job of gathering all of the compensation elements from the comparator cities. City Council should now have him collect the data related to concessions made by the employees of those cities, over the past few years, in order to determine what is appropriate for Edmonds.