County park directors table pay scale PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 14 September 2009 17:10

parkranger_rotatorGRAND RAPIDS – The Wood County Park District Board of Commissioners has postponed adopting a new pay scale for its 20 employees.

If approved as presented, the pay scale calls for virtually no salary increases; two park rangers, a maintenance specialist and the stewardship coordinator could receive small hourly raises.

The resolution was tabled at Monday’s regular meeting after a few audience members voiced concerns about the process. The meeting was held at Beaver Creek Preserve.

Dennis West said the public should be given some opportunity to comment on the wage study, which was prepared by Clemans, Nelson and Associates. The board hired the firm last winter after public outcry over raises averaging 32 percent were awarded to employees. The raises were later rescinded and 3 and 4 percent increases were approved.

“If you’re going to build the bridge of trust, it’s important to bring about transparency,” West said.

He said he and other voters feel deceived after a 1-mill renewal levy was recently approved, with the intention of buying more property for parks and for upkeep.

“If the public had known there was going to on the average of 32 percent pay increase, would they have voted for that millage,” West said.

Board member Char Scherer said there needs to be better education about the Clemans, Nelson document. She said the intent of hiring the company was to create a pay scale with minimum and maximum rates and to guide the board in implementing it.

“And that is what they’ve done,” Scherer said.

The original report issued by Clemans, Nelson on Aug. 12 suggested minor increases for two employees and concluded that three are being paid the maximum in their range. Clemans, Nelson sent out 28 wage surveys; 13 responded and five were considered comparable to Wood County Park District.

An advisory committee overseeing the process then met again and was presented with some additional comparable figures, including the Bowling Green Park District and the constables who do security for the Wood County Courthouse.

Rick Ruffner said Thompson had no business asking for the additional criteria; committee member Dorothea Barker's also requested more input.

West said he was disappointed that additional items were added to the pay scale without the public having a chance to comment on them.

He advised the board to be prudent with the parks budget. He said the property tax is only 21 years old and probably saw its most prosperous times a few years ago. The Bowling Green Park District, West said, is in the process of shaving 8 percent off its budget.

After the meeting, Munger said the hefty raises were first broached because the park district did not have a pay scale. Employees were typically awarded 3 and 4 percent pay increases annually, but there was no way of addressing new jobs or responsibilities. In the future he predicted the district would follow the county in giving small cost-of-living increases and possibly merit raises.

Board President George Thompson said he doubts any raises will be approved this year – even the minor ones for the four positions mentioned above.

“The intention at this point is to adopt the plan just for the ranges,” he said after the meeting. “We’re not changing anything.”

Copies of the compensation plan are available at the park district headquarters on Mercer Road and at the W.W. Knight Preserve in Perrysburg. Thompson said he would prefer any comments be submitted in writing.

Also Monday, Ruffner asked if the board was considering expanding from three to five members. He said the Wood County Commissioners have asked that the board be increased; an editorial in last week’s Sentinel also mentioned that.

Thompson and Foster said they were in favor of the additions, but that they had not discussed it with Scherer who was out of town for the August board meeting.

Also, West asked Munger if he was looking for a new job. Munger said no.

The next board meeting is Oct. 19 at the park headquarters.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 September 2009 07:00

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