DEL MAR — In an effort to recruit and retain qualified workers who provide consistent, high-level service, council members at the Jan. 6 meeting unanimously approved a 1.5 percent pay raise for the city’s 22 management, professional and confidential employees..
But the move came with a contingency that staff will return with a long-term plan to move toward performance-based compensation for upper-level management.
The compensation adjustment also authorizes the city to pay full insurance premiums, allows employees to convert accrued vacation time to cash and provides broader access to retiree health care.
In the last five years, management, professional and confidential employees received 3.5 percent base pay salary adjustments. The 1.5 percent increase is the same adjustment given to the Del Mar City Employees’ Association group.
The raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014, will cost the city about $18,675 for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and $37,600 after a full year of implementation.
Unlike most agencies in San Diego, Del Mar passes the cost of long- and short-term disability insurance onto its employees. Under the new plan the city will pay the full premium for upper-level management at a cost of about $11,000 this fiscal year and $21,900 next year.
Previously, those employees who retired with more than 10 years of consecutive full-time service could pay for enrollment in the city’s health care plan. According to the staff report, there is no substantial cost to the city for this benefit, except for minor administrative fees.
The newly adopted plan provides this benefit to all city employees regardless of the number of years of service.
Under the old plan, professional and confidential employees could not accrue more than 380 hours of vacation time and management executives were limited to 400 hours.
“There are situations where a number of employees have reached the maximum accrual for vacation, but due to workload demands, are unable to reduce their vacation balance, and therefore forfeit vacation time,” the staff report states.
Now all those employees can accrue more than 400 hours of vacation time, until June 30 of each year, at which time all vacation time over 400 hours will be eliminated if not used.
Those employees will also be allowed to convert up to 80 hours of vacation time to cash as long as the balance is not less than 300 hours after the conversion. This would likely apply to approximately five of the 22 qualified employees.
The amendment also increases the salary of the assistant to the city manager position from a range of about $71,000 to $93,000 to $88,300 to $115,900, which is the average range in the county for that job.
The new plan will cost the city approximately $29,600 between Jan. 1 and June 30 and $59,500 in the next fiscal year.
The item was slated to be approved as part of the consent calendar, in which several actions are adopted without discussion.
Councilman Terry Sinnott asked that it be pulled and voted on separately so he could emphasis that the city is working toward performance-based compensation.