More than a year after finding out key city staffers were being underpaid, the Scandia City Council has taken action to rectify that situation—but  that action won’t take full effect until late this year.

Based on a study conducted by the city in April 2019, the council last week approved salary increases for its public works director, city clerk and fire chief.

Instead of enacting the salary increases immediately, though, the council opted to have them kick in on the individual staff members’ anniversary dates, pushing most of the financial impact into next year. The wage increases will cost the city an additional $17,700 this year and $43,500 annually going forward.

Conducted by Baker Tilly, a human relations consulting firm, the classification and compensation study found that three city staffers, including the clerk, public works director and city administrator, were underpaid in relation to their peers in similar jobs in the region. A further review found that the part-time fire chief was also being underpaid. The study considered the staffers’ actual job responsibilities in addition to their job titles and descriptions. 

An updated job description and a title change from “Deputy City Clerk” to “City Clerk” were also approved by the council as a result of the study. 

“We’ve been calling (the City Clerk) the wrong thing,” Mayor Christine Maefsky said at the council’s April 21 meeting. “And we are just correcting that error.”

The decision to wait until the staff anniversaries didn’t sit well with Public Works Director Adam Hawkinson, who noted that his raise wouldn’t take effect until December, almost two full years after the salary inequity became clear.

Hawkinson had asked for a $6,250 salary bump last June—about half of what he will ultimately get—but was denied, with the hiring of a new city administrator still pending at the time.

The council was quick to point out, though, that all three staff members are being asked to wait—City Clerk Brenda Eklund until October and Fire Chief Mike Hinz until July.   

The city administrator’s pay inequity was addressed with the hiring of City Administrator Ken Cammilleri last fall and should not be affected going forward.

Other business:

• The council approved the hiring of two firefighters, Nicholas Bancks and Tim O’Neill. The new firefighters will begin June 1.

• The council agreed to contracts with Companion Animal Control and Otter Lake Animal Care Center for animal control and impound services, respectively. 

• The council accepted a bid from Bluhm Construction to repave the city’s fire hall/public works building parking lot. The project will cost $51,748.75.

• The council agreed to offer two Art In Action summer art camps through the city’s summer recreation programs. The St. Croix Festival Theatre organizes the camps and collects all fees.

• The council approved a minor subdivision for Marschall Smith. The plan allows the combination of two lots on the east side of Big Marine Lake and the splitting off of a home  

• The council accepted a $3,000 anonymous donation to be used for public wireless infrastructure and network security. The council had previously discussed the upgrades earlier this month and agreed to spend up to $7,000 on the project.

• The council agreed to purchase a refurbished 1980 Zamboni for the Scandia ice rink. With trade-in of the city’s 1964 machine, the new ice resurfacer will cost $16,844. 

The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held May 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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