Sandy employees could be getting a raise with new budgetMay 26, 2021 01:19PM ● By Justin Adams
City employees, especially lower level employees, stand to receive a raise if the city’s tentative budget goes through. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Sandy City’s employees, especially its employees in lower pay tiers, could be getting a raise soon from the coming fiscal year budget.
The city’s tentative budget proposes allocating $2.3 million toward boosting the compensation for all of the city’s employees, but targeted much more toward the city’s lower pay bands. All employees in the city are categorized into different bands, ranging from lower bands for positions like janitors and groundskeepers to the highest band for department heads.
Last year, the city’s human resources department conducted a survey of comparable cities in the state, which found that Sandy’s lower-band employees were lagging behind their counterparts in other cities when it comes to compensation.
“Bands two and three are lagging behind our comparison groups, at the bottom of the pay range and even more so at the top of the pay range,” explained HR Director Katrina Frederick to the Sandy City Council May 11.
For band two, which includes clerical and manual labor positions, 80% of employees’ compensation fell below the average of similar employees in the comparison cities. Band three employees, which account for 43% of all non-sworn employees in the city, earn less than similar employees of other cities.
To address this disparity, the tentative budget would result in an average raise of 8.7% for employees in band two and 6.1% for employees in band three. That translates to an average pay increase of $1.19 and $1.10 per hour, respectively.
Additionally, seasonal and part-time employees, such as crossing guards and custodians, are projected to receive a 2% market increase.
Of course, all these proposals are subject to the city council’s amending and approval of the final budget, but the majority of the council signaled their support for the employee compensation plan.
“It’s important to remember the people who are the backbone of our city operations. The bulk of our workforce is in those lower pay bands,” said Council member Monica Zoltanski. “It’s really exciting to see that we have an opportunity this year to bring some pay parity between our employees and other entities that are similarly positioned.”
“I appreciate the aggressiveness of this plan in pulling bands two and three up,” said Council member Zach Robinson. “The part I really like in this plan is that it provides a livable wage for all of our staff.”
Council member Alison Stroud asked how the city can ensure they don’t fall behind when it comes to employee compensation in the future. Frederick answered that it’s much easier “to make small consistent adjustments than to have to make huge changes.”
Council member Brooke Christensen asked whether the city should pursue even higher wages for seasonal workers, citing the fact that the city has only been able to hire 60% of the number of those employees they usually try to have for the summer.
“I don’t want to mow lawns, but at the rate we’re going, that might have to become a council responsibility,” she said (jokingly).
Frederick explained that a variety of factors, largely related to the pandemic, are making it harder to fill positions right now so they “need to stand out when it comes to pay.”