CARLSBAD — Salaries for management and part-time employees of the city are set to increase, along with reimbursement for travel expenditures incurred during city business.
On June 27, the City Council approved changes to the salary schedule for management and part-time employees. While salaries will remain in place for now, the change means managers could see an increase at their next annual review. The City Council also approved a jump from $50 to $70 per day for food and incidental expenses, and extended travel reimbursement to volunteers.
“We’ve got the best parks … I think in all of San Diego County,” Councilman Michael Schumacher said, leading off the discussion. “Probably the best libraries, the best roads — a lot of physical, positive attributes. It’s not lost, I think, on any of us, that those things wouldn’t be done without the professionals at the city of Carlsbad.”
The city identified pay increases as a main concern for city employees, which came from the result of a survey in 2015 and from meetings held last month, according to a report prepared by the city.
The report describes 2009 beginning a “gradual decrease of competitiveness” in employee compensation. In 2013, the city began targeting the mean income for similar positions in the labor market, but last month, the City Council decided to compete with the top one-third of salaries at comparable agencies around the county.
Schumacher noted the city has to compete with other agencies and the private sector for top talent.
Councilman Keith Blackburn said they had previously looked into contracting out some city services, but “I jokingly say (residents) tried to bite my head off.”
Management has eight pay ranges, a study conducted by the city suggested raising the highest level and splitting the second highest into two groups.
The change does not result in automatic pay raises, but managers who were maxed out will be eligible at annual employee evaluations.
Part-time pay will be increased by an average of 5.9 percent, after it was found that 28 out of 34 classifications were not competitive with new standard. Part-time workers who fall below the new minimum pay range will see their pay increase to the new level.
The pay increases for managers will not impact this year’s budget, but part-time positions are expected to cost an additional $250,000.
The updated travel policy also provides a little more money for employees who are traveling to conduct city business. The increase from $50 to $70 per day for food comes after nearly 11 years, during which employees were reimbursed $600,000 per year, on average. Employees who submit expenses without receipts — excluding City Council members — are eligible for a $30 per day reimbursement.
The changes to the travel policy are also extended to volunteers. According to a city report, 25 volunteers drove more than 1,000 hours — approximately 20,000 miles — last year.