Council OKs FY16 Compensation & Classification Plan

Los Alamos County Human Resources Manager Denise Cassel, right, briefs Council on the proposed FY16 Compensation and Classification Plan during this evening’s Council meeting. Screen Shot/LADP

County Manager Harry Burgess discusses the proposed FY16 Compensation and Classification Plan during this evening’s Council meeting. Assistant County Attorney Katie Thwaits listens at left. Screen Shot/LADP

Los Alamos County Assessor Ken Milder speaks in favor of the proposed FY16 Compensation and Classification Plan. Screen Shot/LADP

Staff Report

Los Alamos County Council approved 6-0 the FY16 Compensation and Classification Plan. Councilor Rick Reiss was absent.

During this evening’s meeting in Council Chamber, County Human Resources Manager Denise Cassel and County Manager Harry Burgess gave a presentation overview that includes a Job Change Summary, Salary Grade Table (for regular and limited-term positions, excluding union and contract positions; sorted by job class, Draft Compensation Policy and the FY16 Step Plan.

The plan represents all County titles listed by their job families. It reflects the salary grade assignment, the minimum, midpoint and maximum of the grade, and the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) designation of Exempt (EX) or Non-Exempt (NE).

The County Charter, County Code and the Personnel Rules and Regulations provide the basic framework through which the job classification and compensation system is maintained and administered. The establishment of new job classes and the abolishment of existing classes are subject to approval by Council.


Summary Changes to the Plan:
The FY16 Compensation & Classification Plan reflects the additions of the following job titles due to operational needs in various departments: RIM Specialist, Senior RIM Specialist and Environmental Services Trainee. The plan further reflects title changes of the RIM Program Manager, Election Manager, Technical Services Manager, Training Manager, Safety Coordinator, Parks, Recreation & Opens Space Manager, Aquatic Coordinator, Consolidated Dispatch Center Manager, Detention Manager, Detention Corporal, Detention Officer, Detention Sergeant, Facilities Services Manager, Traffic & Streets Mgr/Traffic Engineer, Traffic Manager, Transit Supervisor, Lead Transit Operator, Transit Manager, Billing & Services Specialist, Senior Billing & Services Specialist and Water Systems Supervisor. These title changes better reflect the duties of the position. In addition, a class code was assigned to the Emergency Services Commander.
Compensation Philosophy:
The purpose of Los Alamos County’s compensation philosophy is to define a competitive total compensation approach that enables us to achieve our overall mission, vision and goals.  The County is committed to providing a compensation program that is market competitive, which provides a good balance between compensation, benefits and rewards, and enables us to recruit, retain and reward a high performing and motivated workforce that supports our commitment to serve our citizens.
In determining market competitiveness, the County considers peer employers of similar size, providing like services, and in comparable industries. Different geographic labor markets are considered as follows: a) Local/Statewide: Grades 101-124; b) Statewide/Southwest Regional: Grades 125-132 and 201-214; and c) National: Grades 301 and above. In the current Personnel Rules, the Human Resources Manager is required to conduct a salary market survey for the pay plan every four (4) years. The next market survey contract was recently awarded and will be completed in FY16.
The County takes into account both the external market value of benchmarked jobs and the internal value on non-benchmarked jobs within an overall structure of job families. Generally, the County’s market position will be set around 15 pecent above market average to be representative of the 75th percentile positioning. This position is represented by an above market percentage that is determined during our market review and is based on budget.
New Compensation Policy
The Human Resources Department has worked with the County Manager, Senior Management Team, and elected offices for the past 8 months to develop a new compensation policy. Previously, the policy lacked a formal written structure, and there were many questions from employees and managers regarding the placement of employees within the approved Salary Plan.
With the Council’s approval of the FY16 Compensation & Classification Plan, the County Manager intends to implement this compensation policy, which will bring more structure to the County’s pay system.
The Salary Grade Structure contains the following parameters:
  • Midpoints between grades are 5 percent apart.
  • The salary plan is comprised of three bands, which mirrors the areas from which we tend to recruit from. The bands are defined as the 100 series for non-exempt (Local/Statewide), the 200 series for exempt (Statewide/Southwest Region), and the 300 series for executive positions (National).
  • The progression through the salary range is determined by a step plan consisting of (40) one percent steps.
  • Pursuant to governing law, the Union-covered positions of Police Officer, Police Corporal and Police Sergeant grades and salaries will remain unchanged in the new Plan. These positions will be subject to negotiations due to the recent employee election to unionize. Similarly, other represented positions within both Fire and Utilities are not included in the compensation and classification plan.
The FY16 Compensation and Classification Plan is in compliance with the FY2016 Budget.

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