City: Study to help Pearland be competitive

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Pearland leaders hope a new study on how the city compensates and classifies its employees will be the beginnings of a solution to what newest City Councilman Trent Perez describes as “to be blunt, an abhorrent rate of turnover.”

From engineers to HR professionals, cities not only compete for qualified employees with other governmental entities, but with the private sector, Perez said.

“I would really like this study to be a key component to try and address that turnover,” said Perez, referring to an upcoming study on the city’s compensation and classification of all employees. “I wouldn’t say that I know what the magic bullet is to address that, but it’s a high priority for me because I think that is cause for a lot of the issues that we have – having staff that aren’t as familiar with the history, have best intents but just don’t know some of the things that have happened.”

“There are a lot of people here I’ve come to know and like and I’d like to continue to work with them,” he added.

The city will contract with Management Advisory Group for just under $50,000 for such a study, council decided June 27. The last study conducted was about 10 years ago, staff said.

Perez said he would like to see the city be particularly aggressive with jobs that have private sector components.

HR Director Michelle Graham said for that reason, the study will examine not just salaries, but total benefits offered by the city.

“There are a variety of reasons why there is turnover,” she said.

The study will create a “classification system” based on similarly skilled employees and identify appropriate exempt and non-exempt positions.

“We thought it might be $75,000 for such a study, but it came back quite competitive,” City Manager Clay Pearson said of the proposal and selection process for various firms.

“We need to have some sort of basis on what positions are slotted,” he said.

The study is expected to be complete in 5 months.

“We want to look at areas that are similarly located geographically, but make sure we are comparing with cities with the same service levels,” Graham said. “We don’t want to get salary information from an agency that doesn’t have a full fire department or has different services.”

Story by Nicole Jones

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