Dickinson City Commissioners met Monday to discuss the latest wage study with outliers removed — part of the review of a new wage scale referred to as Option D that the commission had yet to approve.
Ray Ann Kilen of RKilen Consulting, who completed the most recent wage study, pulled out the ND Job Service Employment numbers, which skewed the data, and added Bismarck to the study. She said that there were some changes but that some outliers remained.
"I think we need to look at the job descriptions of some of these because it's kind of hard to be sure they're aligned," she said. "It was challenging deciding what positions were probably the same. You could kind of tell by where they had them in the pay scale ... This is too important to not take that time."
Commissioner Sarah Trustem recommended using the first quarter of 2020 to review the outliers.
"With the five year step process that we have in place, I'm really concerned that some of those people won't see raises for a very long time, so with that, I would not recommend implementing option D until we take quarter one to review those outliers," said Commissioner Sarah Trustem.
City administrator Joe Gaa recommended holding off an wage increases until the end of the first quarter.
"We can take this first quarter to look at that option and make those tweaks ... Most of them are department-specific ... I think we can work with the department heads and managers and really go through this and come up with some options," he said. "If you really want us to do something in the first quarter, I would not recommend doing any sort of increase at this point. I would use the 2019 scale for hiring only ... If we can get it back by the end of March and do an increase then, I think that's the most responsible thing fiscally."
All city commissioners voted to stay with the current pay scale for the first quarter of 2020 and allow the healthcare benefit to be enacted January 1, 2020.
The healthcare benefit, which was approved with the budget in August, would increase the amount the city pays for its employees' healthcare premiums by 2.5% every five years.