The City Manager proposed 2021-2022 budget that will be presented at the City Council meeting on May 18 begins the process of changing the employee compensation plan for the City of Greensboro.

The proposed budget includes the initial phase of moving city employees from a merit based system of raises to a step plan.

Under the current system, employees annual raises are determined by their employee evaluations.  Under the step plan, all employees on the same step will receive the same salary regardless of their evaluation.

This step system removes the monetary incentive for an employee to do a good job or go over and above the minimum expected.  Under the current system employees who do go over and above the minimum requirements for their job can expect to receive higher compensation.  Under the step system employees who do a great job and employees who do the minimum will be paid exactly the same.

It is major alteration in the city’s philosophy on how employees should be compensated for their work. However, the City Council has had almost no public discussion of abandoning the merit system and going to the step plan.

City Councilmember Sharon Hightower has been pushing for the step plan every year, but it did not appear that she had the support of the majority of the City Council.

Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said that she didn’t remember the City Council actually taking a vote on completely changing the compensation system for city employees but said, “There has been discussion and a consensus was reached to direct the city manager to move forward with it.”

Human Resources Direction Jamiah Waterman explained at the May 11 work session that only a limited number of employees were being put on a step plan this year.  He said it was a complicated process because all employees at a certain level had to have their salaries increased to the pay rate for that step, whereas currently because of the merit system employee salaries varied based on the merit raises they had received.

Waterman said that an additional $100,000 was their “best guess” at the additional cost of putting some employees on the step plan in the proposed budget.