Some city of Laurinburg employees will receive an $800 bonus this July thanks to a decision by the City Council this week.
The decision will also see the city move to an alternate pay scale for its workers, as suggested to them by a research firm. The scale will see city employees’ salaries “aligned” more competitively.
Eight employees whose salaries will be reclassified by the move will be see significant adjustment, with a total budget effect of $20,854.52.
Other adjustments made in moving to the new payment plan will result in an approximate $12,800 budget effect.
The total proposed budget, as of the time of the meeting, was $34.1 million and included no tax or water, sewer or electric rate increases. That total is 3.3 percent larger than last year’s total budget.
Councilman Herbert Rainer noted that he “like(d) adjusting those individual salaries that were out of line,” saying that he felt it was fair to adjust them upward.
The salaries of more than 40 Laurinburg employees will be aligned as a result of the council’s decision.
Councilman Kenton Spencer said that while Laurinburg was in the bottom three in tax rates among the 12 municipalities it was compared with (better than all but Southern Pines and Pinehurst), the salary adjustments would see the city pay salaries in the top half of that comparison group.
The city also unanimously agreed to develop a performance-based pay plan over the course of the 2012-13 financial year, with a commitment to having it installed by FY 2013-14.
“Pay for performance is a way of rewarding employees for hard work, but also for rewarding those teams of employees who help save the city money,” said Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker.
Parker cited the example of employees at work sites with higher risk of injury, saying that “they save the city money when they avoid workplace injury, and this will help us reward them for that.”
The council mulled over several other potential bonus figures, including a $1,000 bonus, before finally setting on Councilman Rainer’s suggestion of an $800 bonus.
Those employees that would receive a pay increase in excess of the bonus after being moved to the new pay plan will not be eligible for the bonus.
Employees will be evaluated based on a new 360-evaluation program that the city will install and use over the next year, with the goal of having it ready for financial year 2013-14 when merit-based pay is set to begin.
Throughout the next year the city manager and an executive team will determine the best method of installing performance-based pay while incorporating the new evaluation software.
“This program allows for evaluation of both supervisors by employees and employees by supervisors,” said Spencer.
The city is expected to finalize its budget today at a 5:45 p.m.
According to City Manager Ed Burchins, the city is approaching the budget meetings “focused on maintaining our tax rate at 40-cents” as well as “improving the quality of life” by “being more visible and interactive.”