A compensation study showed that 70 percent of Killeen city employees are underpaid based on the market; however, some employee salaries exceed the market’s suggested rate.
City officials presented the compensation study to the Killeen City Council at its Tuesday workshop meeting. According to the study, 70 percent of the city’s 1,292 employees are more than 5 percent below what the market depicts they should be paid.
Ann Farris, assistant city manager, said the study is a long-range plan. The market was determined by looking at cities nearby and those in the state of similar size.
Killeen was compared to 16 other cities, including Abilene, Carrollton, Frisco, Georgetown and Pasadena, to determine where the city’s pay scales should range in their respective pay grades.
Matt Weatherly, a consultant for the study, said officials looked at population, proximity, the presence of a university and a military base and cost-of-living differentials.
Last month, the council approved a 3 percent across-the-board salary increase for employees in an effort to bring the numbers more closely in line with the market.
Even after the 3 percent increase, the study shows that 281 noncivil service employees still fall below the minimum proposed pay range.
The study showed that 416 noncivil service employees need to be bumped up to the “next nearest step.”
Hilary Shine, city spokeswoman, said a step is an incremental increase in salary.
“A pay grade is the minimum and maximum salary for a position. Within the grade, there are multiple steps,” she said. “In the current budget, each step is a 2 percent increase over the previous step.”
Noncivil service employees receive a performance appraisal on the anniversary of their hire date. Employees receive a one-step (2 percent) increase based on performance.
The proposed 2015 fiscal year budget shows a 2.5 percent increase over the previous step.
BY THE NUMBERS
A utility cashier, who falls in the city’s lowest pay grade, has a salary range of $18,876 to $27,492. The study suggests the range should be $23,394 to $33,054 — a 23 percent difference between the minimums and 20 percent difference between the maximums.
According to records obtained by the Herald, the city currently has four utility cashiers who average $19,153 — 22 percent below the suggested minimum.
A public information officer in Killeen, who falls closer toward the middle of the pay grades, is more in line with the market.
However, the current pay scale maximum for a public information officer is higher than the market by $5,306, or 8 percent.
The current pay scale ranges from $45,780 to $70,752. The market suggests the scale should range from $46,318 to $65,446.
Killeen currently has one employee listed as a public information officer. She is salaried at $45,772 — 1 percent below the suggested minimum.
Killeen employees higher up on the pay scale have a smaller gap in employee compensation in regard to current earnings and what the study suggests.
The current scale for a city engineer ranges from $72,012 to $118,152.
The market-based study shows a city engineer making between $79,219 and $111,934. According to city documents, the city’s engineer garners $118,143 — 6 percent more than the suggested maximum.
The city planner earns $99,401 — 13 percent higher than the market — and the director of transportation takes in a little more than 1 percent higher than the market suggests with a salary of $113,556.
Other employees falling in the same pay grade — the environmental services director and the community development director — fall above the market’s $94,166 midpoint on the pay scale. The water and sewer utilities director and the assistant finance director fall just below the market’s midpoint.
In one of the top tiers of the pay grade, the scale ranges from $80,664 to $132,324. The market suggests the city narrow its scale, moving the minimum to $87,339 and setting the maximum at $123,407 — nearly $9,000 less than the current maximum.
The executive directors of aviation, community services, planning and economic development, public information and support services sit in the second highest tier. Those employees average a $105,061 salary, with the executive director of planning garnering more than the market’s max at $127,073. The others fall right at or above the $103,818 midpoint on the scale.