Wellfleet Personnel Board
Minutes of Meeting of July 1, 2003
Town Hall, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Present: Sue Peters, Chair; John Makely, Lisa Benson, Ken Kimball, Patricia
Foley; Rex Peterson, Assistant Town Administrator; Don Jacobs,
Chair Peters called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.
Election of Officers. The first order of business was to elect officers for the coming year for the positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, and Clerk. After discussion, Lisa Benson nominated John Makely for Chair; Ken Kimball seconded; Makely was unanimously elected Chair. Benson nominated Sue Peters for Vice-Chair; Makely seconded; Peters was unanimously elected. Peters nominated Patricia Foley for Clerk; Kimball seconded; Foley was unanimously elected. Makely then chaired the meeting.
Minutes of May 22, 2003. Sue Peters moved and John Makely seconded approval of the 5/22/03 minutes. The motion passed 4-0-1 (Benson because of absence).
Don Jacobs, Bennett Associates, Classification and Compensation Study for Town of Wellfleet. Rex Peterson introduced Mr. Jacobs, who attended the meeting to explain the classification and compensation study that the Town has commissioned him to conduct on 27 town positions ranging from Grade 10 to Grade 5. Peterson showed the Board an explanatory flip chart which had been used in a department heads meeting that morning (the contents of this chart, a Statement of Scope of Services, and a Job Description Review Supplemental Guideline had been previously sent to the Board).
Answering a Board inquiry as to the reason for this study, Peterson stated that it stems from a reclassification grievance earlier this year. Town Administrator Tim Smith decided that all positions from Grade 10 down should be studied for reclassification. Board members Kimball and Benson noted that the Personnel Board Bylaw states that the Personnel Board has the responsibility for all re-grading of positions; Benson added that by Town Charter the Board must approve all positions. Sue Peters asked whether the Board's evaluation method (OMNI) would be used in the process. Chair Makely, moving back to Mr. Jacobs' presentation, commented that significant questions for future discussion had been raised:
Where does Personnel Board fit into this process?
Which documentation will be used for evaluation?
Mr. Jacobs, citing his background in management in both municipalities and private industry, emphasized the following points:
Communication is the basic tool in classification and compensation.
Role of department head is most abused; Jacobs plans to establish department head's role as knowledgeable and an initiator of change; the department head needs to understand the evaluation system.
A distinction exists between classification of position and compensation of employee.
Answering Kimball's question about the reason for the study, Jacobs notes that typically it is compensation, internal equity. The process involves meeting with employees and department heads to explain the system, the most labor-intensive part of which is writing the job descriptions.
Regarding Rating Manuals: Whichever rating system is used, it should connect with the job description and must be consistent. A rating system is not a static document and should be kept as simple as possible; probably an analysis of a rating system should be conducted in-house with an outside consultant every now and then to clear up problems. Although similar, the Wellfleet system and Mr. Jacobs' system differ in their point systems and in number of criteria used (the OMNI system uses 10, the other 13).
The project concerns revision of what the Town has been doing. Once the updated job descriptions are complete, the Board will have to decide which system to use.
All confidential discussion (e.g., application of the manual) will be dealt with in executive session.
The Board posed several questions:
What will the timing be? What will be expected of the Board?
Jacobs answered that after the job description is gotten from the employees and department heads, he can begin to review the initial offerings. After that, decisions can be made.
Could the Town Administrator be asked about the role of the Board in this process? Will the Board be stepping aside from its initial grading responsibilities?
Would any position lose compensation? Would all adjustments receive higher compensation? (Questions from Pat Foley, the FinCom representative)
Jacobs noted that chances were good that the current groupings were pretty accurate.
Could the Board look at both rating systems compared point by point?
Jacobs indicated that this was possible; he added that the Board would be able to ascertain how the criteria of the Bennett Associates' system all connect with each other.
What is the clear purpose of a job description?
Jacobs answered that the job description is the heart of the whole personnel system around which everything revolves; it determines how the job is compensated and therefore "de-personalizes" the process.
During the subsequent discussion, the Board and Jacobs came to several conclusions.
Ken Kimball noted that this Board was not in a position to do anything but recommend, since "we can't give away anything that isn't ours to give away." He added that the OMNI system was valuable but that the evaluation process needed to be consistent, having the same number of points and the same number of criteria. He added that there was a need for communication with the union and its employees and that there was a problem when the supervisor was in the same union unit as the employees. Jacobs commented that there were also problems when the supervisor was chosen from the ranks.
Patricia Foley, in an attempt to determine the exact role of the Personnel Board, read aloud its duties and responsibilities from the Town Charter. Board members referred her also to the Personnel By-Law, specifically Section VII, Classification and Compensation Plans, for more specific role definition. Chair Makely suggested that this discussion should be made a sidebar to the major discussion. He later asked if someone could undertake a study of these documents and come up with the role and responsibilities of Personnel Board.
Lisa Benson asked, if Jacobs was hired as a result of a WEA grievance, why Personnel Board was even involved? Peterson replied the grievance was symptomatic of confusion in the job descriptions, adding that a grading manual was needed for every job to be reviewed and that one of Personnel Board's roles would be to study the two grading systems and make recommendations. He pointed out that there were parts of the process that were not appropriate for the Board: certain items on the flip chart were beyond the scope of the Personnel Board and the work involved in the classification of 27 positions necessitated the use of a consultant. In addition to this classification, Jacobs stated that he planned to do a survey collecting benchmark data from other towns.
Responding to Kimball's point that the Board had a responsibility to positions not covered by any union, primarily temporary, part-time help, Jacobs stated that there was a distinction made between such temporary, part-time positions which are compensation-driven and salaried part-time positions.
It was decided that the Bennett Associates Classification and Compensation Study Position Rating Manual and a copy of the 13 criteria to be used in the job description would be mailed to the Board. Also, board members could pose questions concerning the process by e-mail to Rex Peterson, who in turn would discuss them with Tim Smith. Jacobs stated that he would be able to accept Board input on rating comparisons and apply it to the project through two spreadsheets containing what currently exists and what is projected in the study.
It was moved by the Chair and seconded by Lisa Benson that the agenda item on the Makely-Benson "Wellfleet Personnel Board Review Procedure Chart" be continued to another date; the motion carried 5-0.
A date of July 22, 2003 was set for the next meeting; one suggested agenda item (in addition to earlier suggestion of comparison of the two grading systems) was to determine the role and responsibility of the Board.
The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Frances J. Castillo, Assistant to the John Makely, Chair
Committee Secretary _____________________________Date