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Will BE city salaries reflect new maximums?

By Staff | Apr 7, 2008

Ben Martig

It’s unclear whether a consultant’s study will have any impact on the salaries of Blue Earth’s “top five” non-union employees when the final budget is presented to the city council.

A year ago, Laumeyer and Associates recommended officials should extend minimum and maximum base salary ranges for the city administrator, public works supervisor, community development director, police chief and liquor store manager.

“We are using that study as a guide when considering wage increases. But we are fine tuning that,” says City Administrator Ben Martig.

According to the report, the five employees earn from 13 and 30 percent less than their counterparts in 14 cities about the same size as Blue Earth. The positions are considered executive level.

Jim Laumeyer says if the workers are deemed “critical” to the city’s operations and it is financially feasible, the salary issues should be addressed as soon as possible.

“They have been very forthright and serious in following the recommendation of the study and spirit of the study,” adds Laumeyer.

When findings of the study were released, salary maximums showed $58,151 for the city administrator; police chief, $49,629; public works supervisor, $45,251; community development director, $43,280; and liquor store manager, $39,190.

At a council meeting last month, a handout detailing proposed expenses and revenues for the wastewater treatment plant had the public works supervisor’s salary increasing from $47,381 to $55,910.

“I am not really in any position to comment on what will be presented to the council,” says Martig. Laumeyer and Associates suggests officials consider raising the city administrator’s maximum salary level to $75,323; police chief, $55,867; public works supervisor, $58,073; community development director, $51,832; and liquor store manager, $45,994. Mayor Rob Hammond says a 3 percent levy hike “cap” has been established by the council, and that includes pay hikes for city employees.

“If steps are added and whatever they are would come into play,” Hammond says regarding the “top five” employees.

It’s not sure if a new community development director will be hired to fill the position that has been vacant since October.

City officials are looking at other options because of the high turnover the position has had the past nine years.

The study, which cost the city around $5,000, also encouraged officials to review job descriptions and addressed comparable pay issues, says Laumeyer.