Morgan County officials are tired of their county being the training ground for government employees who start their careers in Morgan and shortly move on to jobs in other municipalities. And now they are doing something about it.
At their July 17 meeting, the Morgan County Council approved a new employee compensation structure effective Jan. 7, using data supplied by TechNet, a human resource tool.
“We are behind the game with our compensation packages. On average, Morgan County employees are compensated 12.8 percent lower than surrounding areas,” Morgan County Councilman Robert Kilmer said. “We are the training ground. We spend all the money on training and get the new ones, while everyone else hires the experienced ones. That is costly to the county.”
When Council Secretary Tauna MacPherson was hired almost a year ago, the council asked her to do something about it. Her answer was the flexibility TechNet offered that the county’s previous system of determining employee pay didn’t.
Prior to the use of TechNet, the county used another system that “didn’t capture the uniqueness of Morgan County,” Kilmer said.
Kilmer said that the previous method of determining employee pay was to compare Morgan to other counties throughout the state in their same classification, determined by population. While the theory had merit, it didn’t take into account that Morgan is so close in proximity to much larger, more urban areas like Weber and Davis Counties, Kilmer said. Because most Morgan residents commute outside the county for employment, Morgan needed a way to compete with employers in more metropolitan areas. And TechNet provides that, Kilmer said.
“There are five people in heavily populated areas on the other side of the mountain doing what one person does here. We have pounded our heads against a wall trying to figure out what to do with that. For people with multiple hats, TechNet gives us the flexibility to adjust numbers,” as well as a way to figure in pay in immediately surrounding areas, Kilmer said. “We weren’t really competing against class five counties at all, but communities adjoining us like Coalville, Summit County, Park City, Weber and Davis Counties. We lose employees to a lot of Weber and Davis County cities across the board” including former County Planner Bill Cobabe, who is now employed in Pleasant View. “These are big concerns.”
Going into this year’s budget season, the council planned for employee pay increases. New pay rates will also be determined by an employee’s past experience, training and certifications.
“In our opinion, this is as fair a system as we could come up with, short of hiring a team of people who do this for a living,” Robert said. “We have gone back and forth, and tried so many options. We have really spent a lot of time on it.”
Council Chairwoman Tina Cannon said the decisions were based on data and logic, not emotions.
The new compensation structure passed a council vote. However, Councilman Roland Haslam voted against the new compensation structure, while Councilman John Barber participated in the meeting electronically and did not vote.