City votes to have consultants review wage scale

City Commissioner Sarah Trustem explains why she wants outside consultants to review the proposed 2020 wage scale. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)

The wage scale for the city of Dickinson will be reviewed externally in an effort to ensure it is fair and equitable.

During the Dickinson City Commission meeting, Tuesday, the commission voted 3-2 in favor of hiring a consultant to review the city's wage scale.

Commissioner Sarah Trustem brought forth the motion to have it reviewed.

"I’m not saying that the scale isn’t fair," she told the commission. "I’m saying that when we still have all the issues that we have internally with it, and people feel like it’s a biased scale, I feel like we need to have that outside perspective to give us the direction we need to make sure that it’s where it needs to be."

Under the proposed plan, titled Option D, wages for some positions are 89% of market while others are 138%, according to the wage study.


Both Mayor Scott Decker and Commissioner Carson Steiner asked what Trustem would do if the consultants suggested cutting wages to better reflect the market.

"If we have someone look at it, and they come back and say this position is 132%, it need to be at 110%, I guarantee you that person walks tomorrow," Decker said.

Trustem said they would have those discussions when the results of the review come back.

Given that the wage scale is for 2020, time for such a review is limited. Mayor Scott Decker expressed his concern with the tight deadline.

"I think if we try to find someone to come in right now, we're going to get an exaggerated cost to have it done quickly, and it's not going to be as thorough as it should be if we (were to) give them the appropriate amount of time," he said.

Decker said he would be open to a study at a later date when they had more time.

Steiner agreed and moved to approve the Option D wage scale, but it failed to pass with just his and Decker's votes for it.

Commissioners Jason Fridrich and Nikki Wolla voted in favor of Trustem's motion.


Trustem said she had already spoken with a couple of consultants whose quotes came in below $15,000. Christina Wenko, city attorney, agreed that the city would not need to bid for it given that the cost is below $15,000.

The deadline for the review to be completed is December 17, 2019.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated that Haylee Cripe was the city attorney present at the meeting, but it was Christina Wenko, who is also a city attorney.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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