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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Human Resource Board Minutes 11/03/16
Human Resources Board of Chilmark
November 3, 2016 APPROVED MINUTES
Present: Jennie Greene, Chair, Bruce Golden, Max McCreery, Brian Cioffi, HRBC Staff Representative, Steve Lewenberg, Steven Flanders
Not present: Jim Malkin, Selectmen’s Representative
Public/ Board or Comm. Members: Bill Rossi, Selectman Representative
Staff: Jennifer Christy, Admin. Asst., Diana DeBlase, Admin. Asst. to the BOS/Receptionist, Ellen Biskis, Town Accountant, Ebba Hierta, Library Director
Meeting called to order at 8:05AM

  • Public Hearing for an amendment to the HR Procedures Manual, assigning pay grades:
  • Chairperson Jennie Greene opened the public hearing and read aloud the posted and published public hearing notice.
  • No written comment was received.
  • Ms. Greene opened the hearing to public comment.
  • Ms. Hierta noted that the change appears to be fair, but also noted that the amendment appears to place a burden on the Board.
  • Mr. Cioffi stated he felt the amendment was a fair change as well.
  • There was no more discussion and Ms. Greene closed the hearing. A motion was made by Mr. Golden to approve the amendment as proposed. Mr. Lewenberg seconded the motion and the amendment passed unanimously.
  • FY18 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA):
  • Ms. Greene introduced the documents concerning the COLA calculation procedure. She noted the COLA would be .3% according to the formula used by the Town for the last few years. However, due to the Board of Selectmen vote last year to limit the COLA percentage to no lower than 1% and no higher than 3%, the FY18 COLA will be 1%.
  • There was discussion regarding how this limit might affect employees in the future and the procedure followed in the past to recommend and set the yearly COLA. It was noted that the HRB should provide a recommendation and the BOS and the Town Meeting will make the final decision.
  • Mr. Lewenberg moved to state to the Board of Selectmen that the formula shows a .3% increase for FY18.
  • Mr. Golden stated he would recommend a 1% COLA for the employees. He stated he is appreciative of the work of the Town’s employees.
  • Ms. Greene noted the correct calculation should be .4% from the formula.
  • Mr. Cioffi stated that the motion by Mr. Lewenberg is correct and he would advocate that the Board recommend the .4% COLA increase as per the formula and then allow the BOS to employ their voted policy.
  • The motion to recommend to the BOS a .4% COLA was moved. The motion was seconded and voted unanimously by the Board.
  • Library Positions Description Grading:
  • The first position description of the Library Director was graded.
  • The education requirements for the Library Director were discussed. Ms. Hierta stated the Library Director is required to be certified and the state requires a Library Director to have a college degree. Mr. Cioffi noted that the Director position stated the requirement to have a bachelor’s degree. Mr. Lewenberg suggested that there be a two-step grade structure for the position so that a person who attains a Master’s degree can receive a higher grade. MS. Greene stated that she would have no opposition to this but the Trustees would need to make this change or addition. Mr. Lewenberg suggested the Library Trustees create a second description that includes higher education if the Trustees Ms. Hierta stated she would approach her Trustees regarding the Master’s degree requirement.
  • Ms. Hierta stated specific library experience was purposefully left out of the description and replaced with specific areas of knowledge. After lengthy discussion regarding the meaning of Experience as it appears in the grading manual and the minimum requirements for a Library Director in professional experience, Mr. Lewenberg made a motion to insert the word, “relevant” before the word “experience”, and after the words “minimum amount” in the first sentence of the grading manual on page 5. No action was taken on that motion. Mr. Lewenberg made a second motion to inform the BOS that the HRB would amend the grading manual to insert the word “relevant” before experience, and after the words “minimum amount” in the first sentence of the grading manual on page 5 and the HRB will wait to grade the Library positions until the change is approved by the BOS and a public hearing is held. Mr. Golden asked if the Board could simply assume experience refers to relevant experience. Mr. Rossi suggested the Board move forward with the understanding that the meaning is “relevant experience” and the grading should progress contingent on BOS approval. Mr. Lewenberg amended his motion to mirror Mr. Rossi’s statement. Discussion occurred. Mr. Flanders expressed reluctance to approve something that is an assumption of the meaning. Ms. Greene agreed that the determination of the meaning of experience must be addressed. Mr. Rossi agreed as well but stated that, in order to move forward on the library position grading, that the assumption should be made that experience refers to relevant experience and the issue of amending the manual will be formally addressed sooner rather than later. Mr. Flanders expressed continued concern with taking actions that are expedient, but possibly not well-considered. Ms. Hierta stated that waiting on the grading would unfairly affect the library employees. Mr. Cioffi stated that the position descriptions submitted to Board should more closely adhere to the wording of the criteria in the grading manual so that the grading process is more straightforward and direct comparison of items in the descriptions to specific criteria levels in the manual is possible.
  • Ms. Greene asked if the Board was willing, for the time being, to assume that “experience” as stated in the grading manual on page 5 refers to relevant experience. Mr. Golden and Mr. Lewenberg assented.
  • Mr. Rossi needed to leave the meeting.
  • Discussion occurred regarding the level of judgement and initiative and it was decided that the position required some work on highly technical, involved administrative problems and the development of technical processes and/or management plans and programs.
  • Mr. Cioffi confirmed that the process of grading involves a cross-reference with the actual job description, not necessarily with the work that the employee currently performs. Mr. Cioffi stated his desire to see the position descriptions more clearly reflect the criteria descriptions in the grading manual. The responsibilities of the Trustees were briefly discussed and discussion occurred regarding the role of the department head/employee in providing input during the grading process on the duties and responsibilities of the position. It was determined that input from a dept. head/employee was valuable information for the grading process.
  • Discussion occurred regarding the Character of Supervision. The level of D. was discussed and it was determined that the Library Director position, considering the role of department head, “may assume temporary responsibility for entire Town in the Executive Secretary’s absence.” Mr. Flanders stated he felt the position would be graded in this area as a C. and he abstained.
  • Discussion occurred regarding the Scope of Supervision. It was unclear how employees work time, if employed in the summer season, area calculated for full-time equivalency. It was determined that the library director would have a scope of supervision of 5 FTE employees.
  • The grade resulted in Grade 11, no change to the current grade.
  • Mr. Flanders needed to leave the meeting.
  • The job descriptions of Circulation Assistant, Assistant Librarian and Circulation Assistant-Seasonal were graded. It was again noted that experience should be reviewed and assessed as relevant experience.
  • Ms. Hierta suggested that the Board needs to review the grading manual to address discrepancies in how positions are graded when there are “inside” and “outside” elements (Education/Knowledge, Physical Environment, Manual Skills, Occupational Risks), particularly when a position has physical effort but is not an outside position. She stated that there appears to be less emphasis in the manual given to technical/intellectual skills as opposed to manual skills and it is incumbent on her to keep current with the increasing technical skills needed in the current workplace. She specifically mentioned a lack of manual criteria that would address advanced computer skills/knowledge. Ms. Hierta also cited the Beach Gate Guard position as an example of grading higher for similar work, but the Beach position is an outdoor position. Ms. Hierta suggested that there is variation in how positions are graded attributable to the year they are graded, the climate of the economy and possibly other factors. Ms. Greene stated that the make-up of the Board changes over time and that may have an effect on how positions are graded.
  • Discussion occurred regarding how a department head may hire an employee at a higher rate than the position is graded at.
  • The Circulation Assistant was graded to a Grade 4.
  • The Circulation Assistant-Seasonal was graded to a Grade 4.
  • The Assistant Librarian was graded to a Grade 7. The position was previously a Grade 6.
  • Ms. Greene asked if there was a motion to recommend to the Board of Selectmen the word relevant be inserted before the word “experience”, and after the words “minimum amount” in the first sentence of the Municipal Position Evaluation Manual on page 5. It was moved and Mr. McCreery seconded it. It was voted to recommend.
  • Classification & Compensation Study Review:
  • Ms. Greene asked Ms. Biskis to update the Board on her findings. Ms. Biskis stated she had made a rough calculation of the budget effect if the Board were to recommend that the FY18 compensation chart were to be amended to change the percentage change from grade to grade a consistent number of 14%. The effect would be approximately $350,000. Ms. Biskis noted the intention would not be raise compensation across the board but to implement changes based on the study and she recommended looking again at the purpose of the classification and compensation study. Mr. Lewenberg stated there is a two-step process: recommendation of a new grade and step compensation chart and a second step of a recommendation of how it would be implemented. Mr. Lewenberg stated that a recommendation would need to be made of what to do if, assuming the just presented chart (14% change from grade to grade with a 1% COLA) is recommended, employees who are inserted into the new chart appear to be overpaid. Ms. Greene noted that it is possible the recommendation to address this process is that employees who are in a specific grade and appear to be overpaid would not go to the same step. She also noted that longevity would need to be addressed.
  • Ms. Greene asked if Board members would like to request Ms. Biskis to calculate anything before the next meeting on the 10th. Mr. Lewenberg stated he would like to have a comprehensive reasoning behind the compensation chart that has been reviewed. Mr. Golden stated his view that the financial implications are not part of his decision and he thinks that it is best to recommend a standardized chart. Mr. Lewenberg reiterated that a clear rationale must be presented with the recommendation. Mr. Golden stated the Board has thoroughly reviewed the positions, grade structures and compensation rates in other island towns and has reviewed the standardized chart and it has been shown to satisfactorily address the compensation issues that have become apparent.
  • The Board needed to allow the use of the room by the Park & Recreation Committee.
  • Ms. Greene adjourned the meeting.
  • Topics not reasonable anticipated by the Chairperson at the time of posting:
  • Minutes:
  • No minutes were reviewed.
  • Next Meetings:
  • November 10, 2016, 8AM
  • Agenda items: Further review of the compensation study

Meeting adjourned at 10:10AM

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