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Hubbard County bumps up wage scale

Hubbard County Human Resources Director Gina Teems explained that, over the past few years, the county has reviewed every position and its classification.

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Hubbard County Government Center
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo, March 2020
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To remain competitive, Hubbard County boosted its wage scale for county employees.

County Human Resources Director Gina Teems explained that, over the past few years, the county has reviewed every position and its classification. She spoke to county commissioners at their Nov. 15 meeting.

First, the county board approved David Drown Associates (DDA) Human Resources Inc.'s recommended reduction of grades from 36 to 22.

They also approved implementation of the market analysis, as provided in DDA’s wage scale, effective Nov. 20.

They authorized Teems to make adjustments with these provisions:

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  • placement on the wage scale will be equal to or next higher step to current wage; 
  • any employee currently on step 3 or higher will be credited with one extra step (not to exceed the compensation grade range);
  • and an employee that has not been awarded their 2022 step increase, as of Nov. 20, will receive a one-time advanced step placement.

Teems provided a chart of county positions with their current DDA grade and their new grade.
County Administrator Jeff Cadwell explained that this increases the minimum pay for a county employee. “So grade 1, step 1 is significantly higher – I think $3 – than grade 1, step 1 was on the old scale. It pushes from 100% of the market to 110% of the market, as of the study that was done last spring, and provides market adjustments to individual positions that were out of line with market position,” he said. “This is the thing that we’re having to fund across next year with fund balance and across the second and third year, but this is also the item that we needed to remain competitive.”

Cadwell said, for example, if these adjustments weren’t made, Hubbard County sheriff’s deputies at the top and bottom end would be paid $3 to 4 less than Beltrami and Wadena counties.

“With this change in the schedule, we’ll be competitive with Beltrami and ahead of Wadena,” he said.

Similar to private companies making 3% across-the-board pay adjustments last year, Cadwell said Beltrami County made an adjustment last year, then moved forward with their labor contracts.

Cadwell reiterated that this adjustment is not yet funded in next year’s budget. “This is what we’re going to be allocating the rest of the ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] dollars against,” he said. “But it solves many problems, makes us competitive. Our pay will not be the reason that we can’t find employees going forward.”

County commissioner Tom Krueger asked about the average bump per employee.

Teems replied, “They ranged anywhere from 1% in certain areas to up higher to 3-4%.”

Cadwell said some were higher. “I think, on average, the number was 4 to 5%” after accounting for the provision for any employee at step 3 or higher.

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In January, Krueger noted that employees will receive another 3% cost-of-living adjustment, resulting in an average increase of roughly 8%. Meanwhile, with inflation around 8%, “we’re staying competitive, in my thoughts,” he said.

In related business, the board approved the 2023 compensation schedule and

administration of wages for non-union employees, per personnel policy.

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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