Better pay, more chances for advancement urged for Annapolis workers

March 18, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

Annapolis city employees need an employment system that pays them fairly for work they do, furnishes opportunities for advancement and provides them with an impartial grievance process, says the draft report of a committee that has been studying the municipal employment system for seven months.

The ad hoc committee of four city employees and four residents met last night to review the draft report. The final report will be presented to the City Council on April 11.

Among the recommendations in the draft report are these:

* Update employee job descriptions.

* Resolve the differences between job titles and classifications.

* Change the civil service board from an agency which merely reviews complaints to one that actively seeks out and addresses employment inequities.

* Require management training for all supervisors.

* Reduce the number of contract employees.

The ad hoc committee was formed last August to follow up on a report written by a consultant a year ago. The council rejected the so-called Yarger study, calling it "outrageous," "self-serving" and "highway robbery."

The report by Yarger and Associates of Falls Church, Va., outlined a salary scale that would have boosted the pay of some Cabinet-level positions by 15 percent. Other city employees would have received 5 percent raises.

If the council had adopted the recommendations, the city administrator would have been paid nearly $80,000 a year, at least $13,000 more than the equivalent job in Washington. Salaries of the city attorney and planning director would have increased to $76,035 from a maximum of $68,965, and the tourism director's pay would have climbed to $62,553 from $56,738.

The committee found flaws in the Yarger study, including a poor understanding of municipal jobs. For example, the study referred to the work of a secretary as dealing with typewriters and mimeograph machines, making no mention of word processors and computers.

As the panel reviewed its findings last night, it emphasized the need to recognize the contributions of average city workers and make sure they are compensated fairly.

"The man at the top is only as good as the man at the bottom," said Jack Shelton, a committee member.

The committee found that many city workers are overqualified for the jobs they hold. Although they receive training and additional education, there is not much movement up the job classification ladder.

The panel also noted that in a number of instances, city employees are paid less than those in comparable positions in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.

"We want to tell the community that the city employees are not being overpaid," said Alderman Dean Johnson, I-Ward 2.

The committee also discussed concerns about who employees can go to if they feel wronged. Committee members questioned the impartiality of the civil service board, which is appointed by the mayor.

The panel suggested additional study on the issue of geneder bias.

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