BY FREDA MIKLIN
For many years, Greenwood Village surveyed other cities in Colorado about their pay ranges for municipal jobs and adopted a pay scale based on comparable salaries for comparable positions. After being told that the city had a 10.5% attrition rate just through August 15 and was losing employees to higher-paying positions, on August 16, the city council agreed to adopt a new compensation philosophy that would result in higher pay scales.
The new method of setting salaries, formulated by city staff with assistance from Employers Council, a human resources consulting firm, matches all 102 different jobs in city government with a comparable position in the overall job market, including the private sector.
Deputy City Manager John Sheldon explained that this change in philosophy is expected to add an estimated $2,452,061 to the city’s 2023 payroll and benefits budget, which will total $30,070,361.
The new salary structure, which will result in pay raises for 88% of all city employees (no employees will see their salaries reduced), will be effective retroactive to July 1, 2022. The additional cost for 2022 of making the raises effective July 1 will be paid from budget savings due to vacancies created by employees who have left city government.
In response to questions from City Council, Sheldon reported prior year attrition rates, which reached highs of 13.9% in 2019 and 15.3% in 2021. The lowest rate at which employees left city government in recent years occurred back in 2015. He also conceded that the data used for 2023 pay ranges was developed “based on what everyone thinks it’s going to be,” since there is no empirical data available. Finally, he told the council that GV policy permitted merit raises up to 5% of annual salary based on performance and the average one was 3.8%.
GV Finance Director Shawn Cordsen told the council that, based on the most current information available, GV was “on track to outperform (its budgeted revenue for 2022) by $7 million,” adding that tax collections for just the month of June had exceeded the amount budgeted by $1.2 million.
Cordsen attributed the significant revenue increase to higher-than-expected remittances by online retailers as a result of the 2018 Wayfair decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and receipt of significant amounts of use tax on large purchases of technology by GV businesses.
Occupational privilege tax remitted, which is based on the number of employees actually working in the city, he noted, was “relatively flat.”
City Manager John Jackson shared that lodging tax revenues in 2022 were coming in at the expected rate, after being much lower for the two previous years (likely related to the pandemic).
Council Member Paul Wiesner expressed that, despite the new system, some employees might choose to leave GV if they determine that they could earn more elsewhere, and in that case, the city might agree to raise their pay, since that was the current practice in private industry.