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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Human Resource Board Minutes 11/10/16
Human Resources Board of Chilmark
November 10, 2016 APPROVED MINUTES
Present: Jennie Greene, Chair, Bruce Golden, Max McCreery, Jim Malkin, Selectmen’s Representative
Not present: Brian Cioffi, HRBC Staff Representative, Steve Lewenberg, Steven Flanders
Public/ Board or Comm. Members:
Staff: Jennifer Christy, Admin. Asst., Jonathan Klaren, Police Sergeant, David Norton, Fire Chief, Diana DeBlase, Admin. Asst. to the BOS/Receptionist, Tim Carroll, Executive Secretary, Ben Retmeir, Tri Town Chief
Meeting called to order at 8:05AM

  • Classification & Compensation Study:
  • Mr. Malkin was recognized and asked to provide guidance to the Board.
  • Mr. Malkin noted that there was, originally, a request for an independent wage compensation study. It was made clear, he further noted, by employees that the study be an independent one and not one completed by the HR Board.
  • Mr. Malkin noted that staff and Board members have expressed concern about how the study is proceeding. He noted that the BOS are expecting a recommendation from the Board regarding which positions need an adjustment to the compensation rates and what rates should those be. Mr. Malkin stated that the first consultant, HRS, Inc., was not charged with reviewing job description or evaluating procedures, but was only asked to find the comparable positions in other towns and identify the compensation rates for those comparable positions.
  • Mr. Malkin suggested there is a need for the Board to establish a clear process.
  • Mr. Golden stated he understands that the recently discovered irregularities in the compensation chart would lead to the establishment of a fair rate of compensation of Town positions by amending the chart to be a consistent 14% change from grade to grade.
  • Mr. Malkin stated that the review of the compensation chart is not relevant to the current issue which is that the BOS needs to know which positions are comparable with other island Towns’ positions, the compensation rates for those positions and the recommendation for compensation rates for those positions in Town that need adjustment.
  • Mr. Cioffi stated that the difference in compensation among comparable positions has already been shown in both of the studies, from HRS, Inc. and from Vineyard Tax Matters.
  • Mr. Cioffi continued and noted that an analysis of the rates for our Town positions, as comparable to the other Island Town comparable positions, was performed. The following conversation and discussion regarding this data has led to a review of the compensation plan structure. He believes that the process is still on track but the issues appear to be more complex than what at first was shown.
  • Ms. Becker stated that equivalency information, in order to compare positions reliably, has not been included in the studies that have been completed and this has led to the difficulty in establishing the comparability of positions. She highlighted the position of Superintendent of Streets and notes that the only positions the position was compared to were ones in two other Towns and the duties of the Chilmark position seemed not a match those. Ms. Becker noted that there seems to be clear inconsistencies in how the determination of comparability of positions has been reached. She further noted there appears to not be a clear set of criteria that is applied to determine the comparability. She further suggested that the Town would be well served to obtain a well-vetted professional classification and compensation study rather than attempt to salvage the current study.
  • Ms. Greene stated that the Board did make an effort to obtain a professional for completing the classification and compensation study.
  • Mr. Malkin noted that the Town did go through a process to obtain a professional to perform a classification and compensation study. He noted that the Board must make a decision and, possibly, the decision is to return to the drawing board and re-issue the bid.
  • Mr. McCreery inquired if the Board required, originally, that the professional organization completing the classification and compensation study would need to have experience in the municipal field. Ms. Greene stated that she did not know if it would be preferential or not at this point.
  • Ms. Becker noted that it is possible that a more rigorous process in submitting a bid for classification and compensation would possibly provide much better results. Ms. Greene stated that the process appeared rigorous at the time and noted it was advertised fully.
  • Ms. Becker stated that the county has used Fox Lawson to perform studies and noted that it has done an excellent job in the past for the Town.
  • Mr. Becker noted that there is a Board that compiles the rates for many Towns and possibly this entity could be used.
  • Mr. Cioffi inquired what was amiss, exactly, with the original report from HRS, Inc. Ms. Greene and Mr. Cioffi gave a short description of the history of the HRS, Inc. and the Vineyard Tax Matters study.
  • Mr. Golden stated that it appears that if the if comparable rates are inserted into the compensation plan, as has been presented by the accountant, it would address many of the problems.
  • Ms. Greene noted that the issue would be that the cost of the increase overall would be a prohibitive number for the Town to approve ($300,000 +/-). Mr. Malkin noted that the total amount that would be needed to compensate at the level that is shown in the consistent compensation plan presented by the accountant would represent approximately 4% of the annual budget.
  • Ms. DeBlase noted that the process has been useful and it has progressed well with good information obtained. She noted that there is a possibility that the cost of a new consultant would be a cost well-spent.
  • Mr. Malkin noted the two main issues: which jobs are comparable and what compensation plan should be established to compensate comparable jobs equitably.
  • Ms. Greene noted the Town Clerk joint position and stated that some positions are difficult to place in a chart due to their combined nature.
  • Mr. Golden asked if the Board could meet in executive session to discuss the compensation rates. It was noted that it would not be able to be done due to rules regarding executive session.
  • Mr. Golden made a motion to ask the chairperson, Ms. Greene, to appoint a subcommittee to study the process and come back to the Board. Ms. McCreery seconded the motion. Ms. Greene stated she appoints Mr. Golden and herself. She stated she and Mr. Golden will meet prior to the December 1, 2016 meeting.
  • Library Position Description Grading Process:
  • The Board members reviewed the Library Director’s emailed letter.
  • Ms. Hierta was recognized and stated that she sees there are issues in the municipal evaluation manual. She noted that intellectual values are not well-represented in the manual.
  • Ms. Hierta distributed FY17 library staff compensation data for island library positions.
  • Mr. Golden confirmed that Ms. Hierta is noting that the manual rewards for “climbing on a roof” as opposed to “using one’s noodle.”
  • Ms. Hierta continued and gave specific examples of the discrepancies seen in the manual as it is applied to actual duties. She noted the area of Physical Environment which does not offer criteria for a staff person that stands for 8 hours, for example, but is classified as a position in an office environment. Ms. Hierta noted that the circulation staff at the library do a comparable level of physicality (standing, bending, lifting, stretching) as cleaning work, which is graded at a higher level.
  • Ms. Hierta noted that more specific language needs to be inserted into position descriptions and the evaluation manual in order for the education level of positions to be evaluated accurately and well. She noted that years of experience needs to be identified in the job descriptions and the kind of experience needs to be defined. Ms. Hierta offered to add language to the position descriptions that state a number of years of experience and what kind of experience.
  • Ms. Hierta suggested that the Circulation Assistant is graded lower than it should be and is not equitable with comparable positions on the island.
  • Mr. Golden noted the rates that the director provided (FY17) and asked what the Library Director would like the Grade to be. Ms. Hierta stated it should be a Grade 5 and that would make the compensation comparable to the other island circulation assistants.
  • Ms. Greene stated that outside work is set apart because those positions were not being compensated for the danger or particular nature of the position’s duties. Ms. Hierta stated that she is not interested in de-valuing the duties of outside work, but rather would like the manual to value the intellectual work. Ms. Hierta noted that positions that include inside physical work is not eligible for as many points unless the work is cleaning and she feels that this does not include much of the work of the library staff.
  • Ms. Hierta stated that there is an issue with the fact that Board’s procedure is not followed that is stated in the procedures manual to ascertain the competitiveness of the compensation rates.
  • Discussion occurred about the exact procedure that is stated on page 28 of the procedures manual, second section.
  • Ms. Christy directed the Board to the grading process in the procedure manual on page 28.
  • Mr. Golden stated that the Board should regrade the Circulation Assistant position description in order to raise the compensation of the position to a Grade 5.
  • Mr. Cioffi noted that process needs to be followed and stated it is important to ascertain whether the Grade 4 of the Circulation Assistant is the result of a grading error, problems with the grading manual or part of a larger problem of low compensation that is being seen across a number of positions in Town.
  • Mr. Cioffi noted that the longer the broader compensation study is delayed, the more of a cost it will be to the Town. He stated his view that it is within the purview of the Board to decide, after reviewing the comparable compensation rates on island to take steps to revise the position description and make changes necessary to bring the position’s compensation in line with other island compensation rates.
  • Ms. Hierta stated her view that the procedure in the manual on page 28 gives the Board the power to relook at the Circulation Assistant grading and, if it is not comparable to island rates for the same kinds of positions, then to make the change right away.
  • Mr. Cioffi stated the Board’s decision is to regrade the position now or to delay the comparison, as has been done for other positions recently graded up to this point, until the compensation plan is completed.
  • Mr. Golden stated the Circulation Assistant position description should be regraded now.
  • The Board regraded the Circulation Assistant on only two of the thirteen criteria:  Education and Judgement & Initiative. Extensive discussion occurred regarding specific language within job descriptions that may or may not be matched with language and wording in the evaluation manual and how the absence of matching or similar language can make the grading process more difficult for the Board. Mr. Cioffi stated that the department head may argue for how the requirements, particularly in the Education criteria area, reach a specific level for a particular position without the need for exactly matching language. More discussion occurred regarding the process for grading. Ms. Hierta stated that she disagreed with the determination of experience. After the grading process, it was determined that the Circulation Assistant was graded at a 5.
  • Minutes:
  • No minutes were reviewed.
  • Classification & Compensation Study Review:
  • Topics not reasonable anticipated by the Chairperson at the time of posting:
  • Next Meetings:
  • December 1, 2016, 8AM

Meeting adjourned at 9:45PM

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