Another city study for $25K

May 10, 2009

Pensacola City Manager Al Coby is recommending to the city council a $25,000 comparative study of the city’s compensation, benefits and pension plans. The city employees and unions have endorsed the proposal. Read Recommendation.

I understand where Coby is coming from. Such a study will validate whether what the city is doing – with health insurance, longevity pay, pay rates, pension contributions, etc – is in line with other Florida cities. It will give staff and the council support for keeping things the same. Maybe even a few salaries will be raised. It’s doubtful anyone’s pay will be cut.

One problem with this recommendation is that it doesn’t really address the concerns about the overall pension plans—-annual cost at $13.8 million. However, the recommendation does respond to Councilwoman Diane Mack’s May 4 blog post “…we need to examine the entire compensation package–salary ranges, leave policies, longevity pay, pensions, and so on–and that will require the hiring of an out-of-town firm which specializes in such studies.”

Another issue is the study only tells us what other cities are doing. It doesn’t look at how city employee compensation and benefits stack up with the rest of this community…..the people who pay the city employees.

How many Pensacola residents have longevity pay increases? How many have pensions? How many have health insurance?

Private sector employers are not calling all around the state to see how employers in other cities are paying their employees. No, they base the compensation on their revenues and the local job market

One last point – looking at how other cities compensate their employees will not generate creative solutions…only advocate doing more of the same.

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