The City Council discussed a change in compensation strategy for city employees that was described as “huge” and “expensive” at the retreat on Thursday, March 24.

It did not appear that the City Council reached a decision on the strategy recommended by Human Resources Director Jamiah Waterman, and not all the recommendations made by Waterman are followed.

For example, in 2021, Waterman presented a number of reasons why the city should not move from a merit based salary plan to a step plan, but the City Council voted to begin the move to a step plan for city employees.

At the retreat, Waterman recommended as a strategy to avoid salary compression and to improve employee retainment that the city preserve employees “comparatios” when making salary adjustments.  Since all salary adjustments made in the City of Greensboro are adjustments that increase salaries, you could replace “adjustments” with raises.

The comparatio is the percentage of an employee’s salary in the salary range for their particular position. So if the salary range for a position was $40,000 to $60,000 and an employee was making $50,000, the midpoint of the pay range, and the pay range was increased to $70,000, that employee would receive a raise to $55,000 so they would still be at the midpoint of the pay range.  All employees in that pay range would have their salaries adjusted so that they would maintain the same percentage in the pay range when the pay range for their position was raised.

When Waterman suggested this salary strategy, Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said, “What he is talking about would be huge.  Everybody in that job would get adjusted.”

Davis said, “This is one of the best ways to address salary compression.”

And Davis added, “It is big and it is expensive.”

Davis said that this would alter the way proposed salary adjustments were presented to the City Council. He said that for instance in the case of raising starting salaries for firefighters by $1,000, the council would be presented with the cost of raising not just the starting salaries but all the salaries affected to prevent compression.