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Question of the week, week four: Incentives pay

By Staff | Aug 22, 2011

Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. Week four question: This week’s question concerns employee compensation that can add to base pay. What is your position on “performance incentives” compensation? Should such compensation be limited to the city manager or expanded to other managers or employees?

Peter Brandt (I)

District 2

The City Manager has wanted to implement a program of management incentive or performance pay within his administration, and I hope he’ll find a way to do it. In his case, however, he agreed to accept a base salary below usual standards for his position with a set of goals that went above and beyond normal expectations that would be compensated for if they were reached or surpassed. That was carried out in a manner that is normal, even standard in the business world. What has transpired recently leads me to believe, however, that Cape Coral is not ready for this type of thing, and other criteria for his remuneration should be found.

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John Carioscia Sr.

District 2

I am not in favor of performance incentives at any level.

I am in favor of paying a fair, negotiated salary, with a collaborated goals setting process, followed up by a performance evaluation on those very goals.

Incentives have also been seen as a way of putting workers in an ethical dilemma that compromises honesty in order to maintain a certain life style.

Just look at the banking and home loan servicing industry.

We should select candidates for a job with a proven work history in that field, monitor their progress as well as their relationships with fellow workers and their subordinates, and surely success will follow.

Keeping ones job and subsequent pay days are incentives.

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Joseph Coviello

District 2

Performance incentive compensation is a valuable tool to promote accomplishment and team success. Incentive pay packages should be established by superiors and presented to the subordinate, not the other way around. After reviewing the City Manager’s proposed performance incentives for FY2012, the majority of the incentives listed should be considered part of his core duties and base pay. For example, balancing the budget based on the “not to exceed” millage rate should be considered part of the City Manager’s job, not incentive pay. Any incentive pay added to the base shall be in relation to outperforming measurable objectives. Business experience on the Council would be essential in developing these plans for employees.

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Daniel Sheppard III

District 2

Performance incentive compensation can achieve positive results, as often demonstrated in professional sports, but not always. On Wall Street, Banks and Investment firms offered generous performance incentive packages in efforts to find and retain qualified personnel. In the absence of accountability, this resulted in excessive risk taking and national economic demise (empty American homes). Performance incentives should not exist without, nor substitute for, basic accountability. Whether or not performance incentives should be considered in any contract must be determined by market forces on an ad hoc basis.

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William Deile (I)

District 3

Performance incentives are a one-time recognition for meeting specific objectives – not an increase in base pay. Incentives motivate behavior and are a common management tool in the private sector. In government, particularly a heavily unionized one, their usefulness is limited as that environment favors longevity over merit. I did support performance incentives for the City Manager as well as other levels of management to achieve greater goal congruence and efficiency. I no longer do. The uniqueness of this program in the public sector plus “playing politics” has vitiated its effectiveness. Unfortunately, this is one reason government tends to be inefficient, wasteful and slow.

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Leonard Nesta Jr.

District 3

The City Manager is getting a performance incentive for the job he should be doing anyway. Read the Charter.

Performance Incentives I would look at on the other managers, but not just to do their jobs. This would have to be something over and above.

I don’t think employees should get “performance incentives”.

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Alan Sheppard

District 3

When you accept a job offer, you should be expected to perform all the duties and responsibilities that come with the salary and job description. I am not in favor of “performance” incentives, especially the performance incentives in that contract between City Manager Gary King and the City Council. His bonus was based on reaching certain “goals.” He was rewarded for balancing the budget on the backs of city employees. Finding ways of eliminating positions, asking others to take pay cuts, and then receiving a bonus for doing so, is not an achievement. It is a disgraceful display of blatant, heartless greed! How can he, in good conscience, take such a bonus, and ask others to make sacrifices? Blame the city for living up to the terms of this agreement. Incentive pay is a bad idea when based on encouraging conditions that lead to rewarding certain employees seeking the demise of other fellow employees

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Carlos Alvarez

District 5

While pay incentives are considered to be an “extra” to standard salary, I do believe they serve a positive purpose when they are derived through a method of calculating savings or increasing efficiency. Limiting incentives to upper management is best, as this is the area of staff which can be the most effective in implementing structure change. Rank and file employees are compensated by hourly work rates and overtime pay for extra duties performed. This is as it should be. Incentive pay should be a bonus, for saving taxpayer money, and not for “if comes” ideas.

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Bennie Barnes

District 5

Everyone appreciates a deserved “pat on the back” for a job well done. However, I don’t believe it should be added into their base pay. If I have an employee that does a good job, needs little or no direction, completes the project ahead of time, (saving money) and treats our customer well. I’ll put a little extra in his pay or give a gift card for two at his favorite restaurant. If a city employee meets that criteria, why not compensate them with a reward worthy of the deed. In the case of the City Manager, I believe it was in his contract.

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Rana Erbrick

District 5

“Performance Incentives” to compensate employees who achieve or exceed goals or timelines are acceptable in a corporate environment. They generally depend heavily on overall corporate performance – not just individual performance. Cape Coral is not a corporation, is not in the business to make a profit off the taxpayers, and has not had a very good year by most standards.

“Performance Incentives” should never be awarded for work an employee is required to do in the normal course of their employment.

Pay for certification(s) for extra skills above base pay expectations, called “other pay” in our Union contracts, is acceptable compensation for added duties and responsibilities.

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Richard Leon

District 5

How can we even consider allowing some of our city employees to receive “performance incentives” when the majority of city employees have only seen reductions in their pay?

In no way am I in favor of allowing performance incentives to continue at this time. Especially for just the top level of management. As any leader is first taught, you need to take care of those under your supervision first before yourself.

Let us work on strengthening our community, so we may have a stronger tax base to help alleviate the budget pains we face and reconstitute salary increases for ALL employees based on their annual review.

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James McManus

District 5

Having spent many years in the private sector, I am familiar with performance incentives. A look at Mr. King’s recent performance incentives, suggests an abuse of the concept, he gets the money and a raise. It is the city manager that suggests and administers compensation for his staff. Council is in charge of policy and budget. I believe that performance incentives can easily be misused and used to show favoritism. In light of the average managerial experience of councilmen and the minimal involvement (if any) of experienced professional Human Resource personnel, these incentives seem to do more harm than good.

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Wm. “Scott” Morris

District 5

I am not in favor of performance incentives compensation as it is being utilized within our City at the present. An individual should not be awarded additional compensation for completing a task which is clearly within their job description. A pay check is incentive enough for a person to complete the job he or she was hired to do. If the Council adopts a policy to award such pay to the City Manager, it would not be fair not to extend the same policy to all city employees. We should end the policy of awarding performance incentives compensation immediately.

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Charles Stanton

District 5

At one time the city had merit raises based on performance evaluations; this was discontinued due to claims of unfairness and favoritism. Do we want to go down that road again? City employees are hired to do a job based on a “job description”. If claimed “performance incentives” are within that “job description” then it really is not a “performance incentive” it is just a matter of doing the job as described. The real “performance incentive” is for the employee to do the job and do the job well so the employee may keep the job they were hired for.

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Derrick Donnell (I)

District 7

The short answer is that I believe performance incentives compensation should be extended to all employees of the city. However, it is imperative that the incentive plan include such factors as a clear statement of the objective, development of both short and long term targets and ease of communication. Before implementation, consideration should be given as to what effect the incentive plan may have on total direct compensation costs. Additionally, incentive payments will need to be taken into account with respect to benefit programs such as pension, health insurance, life insurance, and other programs that are available to the employees.

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Michael Garr

District 7

I think “performance incentives” compensation is good, it pays for a job well done and of course it is withheld for job not accomplished. However I believe that it should be limited to managers and leaders alike. Performance compensation is a driving energy to steer a workforce division in the directions the city wants to go.

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David Stokes

District 7

I disagreed with the current Council and Mayor approving $17,750 in performance incentives for the City Manager this year and do not think they should be approving his request for $27,500 for next year. With the taxpaying residents and business owners tightening their belts, current budget deficits, employees being laid off, and already taking paycuts I believe leadership involving shared sacrifice should start with the leader of the city. I believe showing employees respect and appreciation is free and is lacking right now. In better economic times it could be considered.

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Erica Warren

District 7

Performance incentives should not be expanded to other managers or employees working for the City of Cape Coral for several reasons. Creating an accurate budget will be more difficult and time consuming as different variables are thrown into the equation. Do you assume all employees will receive incentives? Do you save money by denying incentives, thus reducing an employee’s base pay? Government employees are often not empowered to implement cost-saving initiatives or other creative problem-solving solutions due to the rules and regulations they are required by law to follow. Implementing performance incentives is not the way to go.