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Question of the week, Week 3: To be competitive in the job market, the city has set of goal of “achieving the 75th percentile in pay.” Are city employees underpaid? Should the wage benchmark be set at the 75th percentile?

By Staff | Aug 7, 2015

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. The Question of the Week, for Week three is: To be competitive in the job market, the city has set of goal of “achieving the 75th percentile in pay.” Are city employees underpaid? Should the wage benchmark be set at the 75th percentile?

District 2:

* MICHAEL S. BOGLIOLE

I support city employees being adequately compensated for their time but I believe it should be an issue the taxpayers vote on.

* JOHN CARIOSCIA – Incumbent

The 75th percentile is just a guideline. According to a comparative analysis, our city employees are underpaid. The wage benchmark should be used to determine which positions in city government truly need to be addressed first. The comparatives should also consider the actual cost of living, of one local, to the other cities used in the analysis.

As always, we must be prudent and continue to manage our revenue realistically. However, we had 28 police officers leave the Cape PD, in fiscal year 2014 and most left for economic reasons. They were offered a higher salary by different law enforcement agencies or took up a different occupation, so they left the Cape PD. It costs over $90,000 tax dollars to hire and train these officers, can we really afford not to pay them a prevailing wage? I think not.

As the economy improves, salaries will be addressed.

It will take reasonable policies, by both the city employees and the city administration, to address this problem, reasonably.

*KIRK LAGRASTA

When it comes to setting a benchmark for city employee pay we should pay a fair market wage. A city administrative secretary should be making what is paid in the private sector for that same position.

With public safety positions we should be mirroring similar departments that are facing the same threats as the city of Cape Coral.

The idea of setting the 75th percentile as a benchmark is costly, unrealistic, and unheard of in government employment. If the city is paying at the 50th percentile there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to get qualified employees.

* RICHARD LEE REPASKY

It is my understanding that the city of Cape Coral has a MW set higher than most places in the USA. I do not think that city employees are underpaid. I have not observed anyone in city hall breaking their necks to serve the public.

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District 3

* CHRIS CAMMAROTA

The mayor and council paid for an independent outside study on whether our city was paying our city employees a fair wage based on their title and job responsibilities. I feel we should strive to meet what is comparable to other cities in Florida while taking into consideration cost of living expenses for Cape Coral.

When it comes to the benchmark of the 75th percentile this shouldn’t even be a discussion. You don’t get to tell your citizens we are strapped for cash while giving city employees a raise beyond what your average citizens are making.

* JEROME “JERRY” DOVIAK

Interesting question the way it is posed. Are the city employees underpaid? According to the the parameters set by our legislative body (City Council) our city employees are found to be all over the board.

The City Council agreed on the 75th percentile of comparable job classifications and like cities according to Florida Statute. The data speaks for itself. The impact of the study will affect all personnel but the actual change in the employee’s wages will be a case-by-case scenario.

* MARILYN STOUT

A salary survey was just completed and as yet has not been discussed by council. I believe supply and demand determines a salary range. A consultant was hired to make determinations and recommendations based on positions in similar cities. It’s important to study the report and understand the decision and vote of council since the decision will be made before the November election.

***

District 7

* TIMOTHY W. BARRIER

The 75th percentile isn’t the highest bracket but it isn’t the lowest, and it’s above average. I would support a negotiated increase upward from the 75th percentile, as long as it fits within the city manager’s annual budget. I think in the years to come we’ll see that higher wage percentiles will become the norm.

I’m very appreciative of our employees’ dedication and sacrifices and understand the value of their services. As a member of City Council, I will do whatever I can, within budget, to support fair compensation. I would like to see a pay structure implemented where we hire, train and retain employees.

* JESSICA COSDEN

As a city, we need to be competitive with both the private market and with other municipalities in order to attract the best employees.

Put simply, the 75th percentile is a good benchmark. However, the compensation studies had some methodology issues I want to address: they used the 75th percentile of the minimum pay range (not the maximum), and they only used a sampling of Cape Coral’s job classifications.

We should do a wage comparison on every single classification and adjust accordingly. The only way to have valid wage scales at the 75th percentile to address competitive wages is to study each individual classification.

* SAMUEL J. FISHER

The 75th percentile in pay for city employees should be the goal for the city. There is an old adage that you get what you pay for. As Cape Coral, you want to attract talented new employees and be able to retain good existing employees. If Cape Coral’s pay scale is not on par with other cities, then neither of those will happen.

Having worked in government and managed employees and salaries, one thing that the general public often forgets is training. It costs an agency a significant amount more money to continually hire new employees and train them, versus paying your employees comparable wages. You want your staff to feel appreciated and part of a positive atmosphere. Thus as long as it’s fiscally responsible for the city, set the 75th percentile in pay as the city’s goal.