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Council hears compensation study

It also gives city manager and city clerk a raise while ending a housing agreement with Dave Kiff.

November 14, 2012|By Jill Cowan

The Newport Beach City Council dug into executive compensation with two agenda items at its meeting Tuesday night — one that recommended methods for setting salary ranges for future management-level hires and another that gave raises to two top administrators.

Council members heard from consultant Bruce Lawson of Fox Lawson and Associates, who presented a plan for categorizing executive positions and setting salary ranges for those categories.

Future reports will move on to classify compensation levels for all city employees.

The report, which was commissioned in part to comply with new California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, rules requiring that cities have such defined ranges, sparked some debate.

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Councilwoman Leslie Daigle expressed concern that the suggested ranges might result in higher salaries, which would need to be incorporated into the city's budget, while Lawson and other city officials contended that the proposed ranges would not immediately result in more city spending.

Rather, said city Human Resources Director Terri Cassidy, the study is "an important part of moving into the 21st century." The city has never before undertaken a similar compensation and classification study, she said.

"The direction from the council was to set a new range going forward," she said.

Lawson explained his company's Decision Band Method of job evaluation, which breaks high-level managers into three categories based on the positions' responsibilities. At the top level, in Band F, is the city manager. Band E includes department heads, including the fire chief, police chief, public works director and city attorney. The third level, Band D, is comprised of the city clerk, according to the report.

According to the report, all current salary ranges fall within the proposed ranges, "resulting in no implementation cost."

For example, according to the report, the city's public works director could earn between $142,143 and $213,215 under the proposed range. Currently, Newport's public works director, David Webb, makes $180,297 per year, not including benefits.

The council voted to adopt those ranges, which are based on the 50th percentile — rather than the 60th percentile — of salaries in comparable cities, with the caveat that Lawson propose an added performance-based bonus system. Daigle alone voted against the motion.

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