City workers to receive pay raises

By Steve Hansen

QCS Managing Editor

Most city of Tucumcari employees will receive a 2-percent raise in pay under the parts of a new compensation system that the city commission approved Thursday.

The raise will apply to nearly all city employees who have worked for the city for more than a year.

The rest of the new plan will await some reconsideration, the commission decided, after City Manager  Jared Langenegger introduced his proposed plan to the commission in a public workshop before the regular meeting.

Langenegger outlined a plan that includes job titles and descriptions that match the system developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as a job classification system based on the the system used by the state of New Mexico that rates job positions based on skill, education, and experience levels required and adjusts pay accordingly.

He also proposed a system of performance evaluation that includes scoring based on meeting of goals, attendance, attitude and other attributes, resulting in scores denoting “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” and “does not meet expectations.”

Mayor Robert Lumpkin, however, indicated he does not like “merit pay” systems and thought the proposed system contains too much “subjectivity,” meaning an employee might receive a good or poor rating based solely on whether the supervisor likes the employee.

Lumpkin said he does not like merit pay systems “because of their effect on employees who don’t get raises.”
Langenegger said a lack of merit pay can adversely affect the performance of the best workers.

Eventually, he said, good employees start thinking, “Why should I work this hard if we all get paid the same.”

If adopted as proposed, Langenegger said the new system would add $345,000 a year to the city budget.

The commission decided informally to delay a decision on the plan while Langenegger works on ways to remove subjectivity from the evaluation system and commissioners can study the plan more.

Langenegger also proposed a separate system for compensation of police department employees to address difficulties in recruiting officers to work in the city, he said.  The plan would raise police pay across the board.

“We have to compete with other municipalities,” for these officers, he said.  Under that system, a new, untrained officer would start at $13.87 per hour but would receive an automatic 10 percent raise to  $15.26 per hour upon completion of training toward certification.

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