Five employees of the Township of Wellesley are in line for significant pay raises this year, after council voted to approve the recommendations outlined in a compensation review conducted by a private consulting firm.Connie Van Andel of Barcon Consulting presented the results of the 2014 equity maintenance review at Tuesday evening’s committee meeting at the council chambers in Crosshill.
Using a rather arbitrary job grade scale system, the review called for pay hikes for the chief building official, facilities coordinator, building permits coordinator, tax clerk (formerly one of three finance clerks) and the municipal clerk.
While council eventually voted unanimously in favour of the motion, Ward 2 Coun. Herb Neher needed some convincing.
“I noticed that three (later corrected, it is two) employees in the building department are getting bumped up, and on the whole I am wondering why that is?” he asked. “Is it a matter of shifting responsibilities from one to the other? And so that increases (this person’s workload), and it has a domino effect? I just find it strange that all of a sudden out of nowhere every one of these (building department employees) are being advanced to a new job grade when in 2008 they were reviewed. Is it that significant of a difference now?”
Is there actually more work or responsibility now? Or were tasks simply shuffled around amongst employees, he wondered.
Van Andel countered, explaining that in 2008 when Rik Louwagie was hired as the CBO the official CBO designation was not a requirement for the position, but now it is.
She also suggested that the raise to the building permits coordinator was necessary because that staff member is handling much more technical duties than at the time of the last compensation review.
“I suppose there is some reorganization (of tasks) but it also has to do with the volume of permits,” Van Andel said. “In 2008-2009 I’m sure the township of Wellesley saw some decreases there as did many other municipalities as it was a time of recession and so we would have been evaluating those positions (back in 2008) when there was a slowdown in that particular department. … What we’re really looking at though is the increase in volume, but also the increase in responsibilities and so we see that the building permits coordinator is doing a very different job than what they were doing before. They continue to do their existing job of administration, but in addition to that they are also doing some technical plan examinations, so the skill and the mental effort and the problem solving associated is at a whole other level.”
Neher responded, asking if those responsibilities have been downloaded from the CBO’s position, why does the CBO position also need a raise?
Again, Van Andel mentioned the fact that the CBO had been made part of the township’s senior management team in the interim, warranting, in Barcon Consulting’s view, a bigger paycheque.
Not mentioned by councillors, but perhaps pertinent given the raises to building department employees, is the recent decision to hire Louwagie as the township’s new chief administrative officer, and to allow him to juggle his role as CBO alongside the CAO responsibilities for the position’s nine-month probation period.
Initiated in 2008, these external reviews became an annual affair in 2013. Employees or management staff can make the case each year for additional compensation to Barcon, which subsequently submits their recommendations for council’s approval.