by Marissa Lorenz
The Grand County Library District (GCLD) Board of Trustees revisited the issues of salary schedule and 2020 proposed budget at their regular December meeting, adopting the proposed salary schedule with a 3-2 vote and the budget and its funding by unanimous decision.
In opening up the proposed articles for a public hearing in their November meeting, numerous members of Library staff and other residents were present for public comment, most expressing opposition to a newly proposed salary schedule that they felt would result in large salary increases to administration, while only granting nominal increases to other impacted staff, and not providing any raise to branch managers. The meeting ended with a postponement to any action and a commitment from the Board’s Finance Committee to look again at the proposed salary schedule and its potential impact on the next year’s budget.
In this most recent meeting Trustee Marcus Davis indicated that, in the role of Finance Committee, he and Trustee Bambi Statz had spent over eight hours reconsidering both of those documents. “To have public comment this year was really great. Sure we had a couple more meetings, but that’s what we’re here for. It was a pleasure to do that,” he stated. And later added, “I personally believe the feedback from the public and staff and lots of work on [Executive Director Polly Gallagher’s] part to listen to staff, communicated a lot of good information. We came out a lot stronger. And we’re not done. Every year, we’re looking for opportunity to improve.”
The Finance Committee returned this week with the same proposed salary schedule but a newly adjusted budget. Davis stated that their decisions had been guided by two factors, the agreed-upon integrity of the salary schedule and the maintenance of Board integrity in their “commitment to make sure people are paid fairly and equitably.” In speaking to the first, he said, “The survey is of the highest integrity.
It is right.” And he described the process to reach the proposed schedule in partnership with their consultants, Employers Council, as “rigorous, to ensure that we’re being compared with the right data.” “This is the best data we have for pay ranges at this time,” agreed Statz.
In light of this belief, Davis explained, the Committee recommended accepting the salary schedule “but implementing it at 50 percent of what was previously proposed,” under the newly proposed budget. The balance, he noted, had been shifted in the budget to increase the “bucket” budgeted for pay-for-performance. “In the past we’d allocated a percentage of the budget to disburse through normalization, reviews, and pay-for-performance. That ties our hands in doing proper pay-for-performance as an organization. Here we did back calculations of dollar values needed for more fair disbursement of pay-for-performance.”
“We also want to look at this annually,” he added. “We may not adjust annually, but we want to ensure that we don’t get so far away that we’re faced with more huge jumps [in salary] or where two or three scales are way whacked.”
Davis went on to describe the other personnel-related adjustments to the proposed 2020 budget. He indicated that they had allowed for retaining the half-time employee as requested within the budget. “That piece is quite a big chunk. But we want to keep it as a commitment to the public. It’s the services we provide and our intention from the beginning– how do we answer some of the calls for expanded hours, expanded resources, staff needs for projects, et cetera? How does the district feel it has enough staffing to meet the needs of the public?”
In all, the reconsiderations added about $4,000 to the proposed general budget, he said. It reflected a revenue increase of nearly $4,000, with an additional grant; increased salaries and personnel, through the pay-for-performance allocation; increased the materials budget; and small adjustments to facilities costs. “It’s a net effect of less than $4,000. It’s a big change in personnel, a little overall change, and gives us the opportunity to pay some debt.”
Board discussion followed with Trustee Darcy Schlinchting expressing concern over the nature of pay-for-performance compensation. “I think the schedule is more important.
Pay-for-performance is very subjective, in a problematic way.”
Trustee Kim Cameron asked for an example as to what the budget changes would mean to branch managers. With Statz reiterating, “Nobody’s salary has been adjusted. We’re adopting a schedule which recognizes ranges based on comparables. Individual raises haven’t been determined. We’ve stated that in implementation, adjustments to bring people to par would not exceed 50 percent of what was previously proposed. No dollar amounts are set for anyone, because pay-for-performance has not been set. That is not our role.”
Davis also reminded those present that Gallagher was committed to reviewing job descriptions and titles in the coming year and that that would be another place where greater equity was being examined.
Finally, the Board of Trustees put the issue of the salary schedule to the first vote. It passed with a split vote, with Trustees Davis, Statz, and James Sloan voting in favor of adoption and Trustees Schlinchting and Cameron voting against it.
In ending the meeting, with subsequent votes, the Board unanimously passed three resolutions concerning budget and funding for 2020. They passed a resolution to adopt the proposed budget, as amended, for 2020.
They then set the mill levy for the 2020 budget year. Board President Sally Leclair read the second resolution that described the necessary property tax revenue for general operating purposes as $2,668,125, the expected refunds and abatements as $1,608.34, and the certified valuation of assessment for the District as $794,084,850. They resolved to set a tax of .00336 mills upon each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property for 2019 for meeting the general operating expenses of the Library District and a tax of .000002 mills for the collection of refunded or abated property taxes due.
And then the Board passed the final resolution, appropriating additional monies from and to the General Fund in the amount of $1,815,422 for operating expenses, $627,300 for debt repayment, $55,700 for capital projects, $25,000 for grant reserves; and $8,125 from the special revenue fund for operating expenses.