COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

                                                                    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Compensation and Medical Insurance Report

 

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Approval of budget development projections for FY 06-07

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, White, Gerome, Suyes, Zimmerman

 

LEGAL REVIEW:  Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:                       ITEM NUMBER:

October 19, 2005

 

ACTION:     X                             INFORMATION:

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:         

     ACTION:                              INFORMATION:

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND

In November 2000, the School Board and Board of Supervisors approved a Total Compensation Strategy to target employee salaries at 100% of market median and benefits slightly above the market at 105%.  The adopted market localities approved by the Boards are shown in Enclosure #1.  

 

 

DISCUSSION:

To maintain competitive compensation based on the adopted strategy, two separate, but related actions are required:

 

1.         Ensure a competitive salary scale so that the County is able to attract and recruit new employees. 

 

2.         Ensure current employees are rewarded for performance by maintaining internal equity in their pay range, ensuring competitive salary for experience and maintaining market competitiveness for similar skills.
 

To adhere to the Boards' adopted strategy, the following processes are implemented each year:

 

1.         Annually survey the adopted market to determine the salary scale adjustment implemented in those localities/schools for the current fiscal year.

 

2.         Annually survey the adopted market to determine the average total salary increase (inclusive of cost of living adjustments, merit, step and other increases) granted employees in those localities/schools for the current fiscal year.

 

3.         In addition, on a tri-annual basis, the process includes surveying our adopted market not only on scale adjustments, but gathering information on ranges and actual average salaries of a number of benchmark positions. This allows for a more in-depth analysis of our salaries and can identify positions that may need further review.  The benchmark survey occurred two years ago.

 

4.         The data from steps 1, 2 and 3 is used to determine if the budget actions implemented in the current year have achieved competitive positioning.

 

5.         The data from steps 1, 2 and 3 is analyzed to ascertain where the salary scales (both classified and        teacher) for Albemarle County stand relative to the market and arrive at recommendations for next year’s salary scale increase.

 

6.         Obtain data on what other organizations are projecting for salary increases for the next fiscal year through a compensation database (WorldatWork. Eastern Region).  This data is used to project the merit pool increase and develop the teacher scale, including step increases.

 

In March 2004, the Joint Boards adopted compensation strategies for specific positions to address competitiveness in certain areas as follows:

 

1)     Teachers - Target market position at top quartile of adopted market.  The School Board established a short term goal to reach the bottom of the top quartile within a two year period.  Once this short term goal has been achieved, a further assessment of competitiveness and additional recommendations would be provided.

 

2)     Positions recruited from outside our adopted market - Identify competitive market salaries for specific localities within our adopted market that compete with Albemarle for those positions.  This subset of our adopted market should address cost of living issues and target competitive market position.  These localities represent areas that are in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), both above and below Albemarle in cost of living and currently include: Hanover County, Loudoun County, City of Charlottesville, Prince William County, Spotsylvania County, Chesterfield County, City of Chesapeake, City of James City County, and City of Roanoke.  

 

This report provides the supporting analysis and recommendations to achieve the adopted strategies for FY06-07, which the Boards may use to provide FY06-07budget guidance to the County Executive and Superintendent.  It is understood that all final funding is subject to, and based upon, available revenues and Board direction.

 

Section 1:  Board Adopted Process for Compensation Strategy:  Market Analysis and Projections 

The following information is provided to both Boards to consider in providing guidance for the development of the FY06-07 budget.

 

Step 1:  FY05-06.  Survey the market to determine if the scale adjustment implemented for classified/ administrator and teacher pay scales achieved the strategy.

 

Classified/Administrator Scale Adjustments-Target median of adopted market

A competitive scale is important in attracting new hires.  For classified employees, the scale adjustment impacts new hires and any employees with pay rates below the new minimums. The Albemarle County scale was adjusted by 3% in FY05-06 based on data that showed our scale was below market by 0.9% and projection data indicated a 2.1% increase.  In reviewing the salary scale data, our adopted market median scale adjustment was 2.74% (See enclosure # 2), so our current scale is slightly below current market (0.26%). 

 

Step 2:  FY05-06.   Survey the market to determine if the total salary increase for classified pay  implemented achieved the strategy.

 

Classified Total Salary Increases -Target median of adopted market

Based on data showing that our salaries were 0.7% below market and the projected increase was 3.7%, our salary increase for the FY05-06 merit pool was 4.4%. The median salary increase amount implemented by our adopted market in FY05-06 was 4%, which results in our FY05-06 salaries remaining below market by 0.30%.  Enclosure #2.

 

Total Salary Increases for Positions recruited nationally/regionally-Target median of subset of adopted market

Data was collected on benchmark positions for School Division and Local government that indicate we have improved market positioning. This strategy was phased in over a two year period.  Currently, benchmark positions range from 2.83% above market to -7.72% below market, a significant improvement from FY04-05, when the range was below market from -9.85 to -20.0%.   Based on this data, we are not currently recommending additional increases, but will continue to collect and monitor market competitiveness.                    

 

Teacher Scale Adjustments-Target top quartile (75th percentile) of adopted market

For teachers, the scale adjustment impacts actual salaries.  Data indicates that our teacher scales are in the top quartile at minimum, 5 year, 10 year, 20 year and 25 year, however, did not reach the top quartile at 15 and 30 year.  Data for step 15 is anomalous due to other Division’s scales not extending to a full 30 steps.  Enclosure #3.

 

Step 3:  Projections for FY06-07.   Based on current market position and scale/salary projections, determine the changes necessary to achieve the Board approved strategy using the WorldatWork, Eastern Region data. 

 

Classified / Administrator Scale Adjustments

The scale adjustment impacts new hires and any employees with pay rates below the new minimums.

·            Adopted Market Salary Scale Median:                                              2.74%

·           Albemarle Scale Relative to Market:                                                 Below market  0.26%

·           Worldatwork projection:                                                                     2.3% increase

·            Recommended scale adjustment:                                                    2.5%  

 

Classified / Administrator Salary Increase (merit pool)

·            Adopted Market Median increase:                                                     4%

·            Albemarle Salary Increase Relative to Market:                                  Below market 0.30%

·            Worldatwork projection for Eastern Region( including Virginia):           3.65%  

·            Recommended increase:                                                                 3.95%  

 

Teacher Scale and Teacher Average Salary Increase

The teacher scale is based on the projected total increase obtained from WorldatWork. This survey projects a 3.65% salary increase.  Any increase would include the step increase.   Our strategy regarding the teacher scale has been to target $1000 above the minimum.  As data indicates, we are not reaching our target at the maximum, the teacher scale will be designed to reflect an emphasis on reaching the top quartile to include emphasis on the higher end of our scale.  There is a significant variance between divisions in the top quartile pay for highly experienced teachers.  As a long term strategy, the School Board may wish to examine if the minimum of the top quartile is sufficient to meet competitiveness goals when the variance is ~30% in pay.

 

Section 2:  Benefits Strategy:  Projections for Medical and Dental Insurance Premiums

FY05-06 Plan Year

 

The Boards approved the 2005-2006 medical insurance premiums and annual budgeted Board contribution of $5860. The objectives of the Health Care Executive Committee (HCEC) in developing recommendations regarding the medical plan were as follows:

·               continue to offer affordable options to employees

·               maintain the reserves at approximately 15 % of total plan costs

·               maintain our competitive position for benefits at 105% above market

·               modify plan design slightly to reflect current employer-provided health care plan practices.

 

The HCEC proposed to continue offering three different medical plans.  Offering three plans recognizes the realities of increasing medical insurance costs and gives employees an opportunity to choose between different plans and premiums to best meet their needs.

 

Based on employee feedback from previous years’ open enrollment, a new process was introduced for FY05-06. All employees received a well designed in-house communication piece describing all benefits. To make the open enrollment process easier and more convenient for employees, an open enrollment website was utilized.  Additionally, employees with special concerns or uncomfortable with the online enrollment could choose to have an individual appointment with a member of the Human Resources Benefits Team.   Survey feedback indicates that employees found the communications clear and easy to understand and the website convenient and user friendly.

 

Wellness Initiatives

As a long term strategy to control medical costs, the Health Care Executive Committee recommends funding wellness initiatives to include: health risk assessments, incentives for smoking cessation and weight loss, etc. Several wellness initiatives will be discussed at the meeting.

 

FY06-07 Plan Year Projection - Medical and Dental

Based on claims data and reserve balance, along with trend information provided by Palmer & Cay Benefits Consultants, our estimated medical costs increase for FY06-07 are 5%.  Dental insurance costs increase are estimated at 7%.  As we have just started the new plan year, staff will continue to monitor claims experience and develop recommendations for both plan design and premiums as part of the County Executive's and Superintendent's budget proposals.

 

Section 3:  Update on Compensation Initiatives

Long Term Classification Plan

 

In 1996, all Local Government and School Division positions were reviewed and classified using the job evaluation plan that was implemented at that time, based on the adopted recommendations by the compensation consultant Hendricks & Associates, Inc.  The job evaluation system is a point factor system consisting of seven factors and is used to assess the internal value of positions.   Since this comprehensive review, classification has occurred when:

·Market data indicated that review was necessary;

·Supervisor requested review;

·Internal equity issues were identified.

 

This approach to classification has resulted in many positions becoming out of alignment with regard to internal equity. To address this, a schedule for comprehensive review of all departments on an ongoing basis was started July 2004. Priorities are set based on identified internal equity issues, substantial changes in position descriptions and existing market data.  All positions in the following departments were reviewed over the past fiscal year: Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Public Safety, General Services, Building Services and Transportation. 

 

Local Government Total Rewards

At the June 26, 2003 meeting, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to begin the review of the County’s reward and performance systems to ensure that they are aligned with our high performance strategies for customer service, continuous quality improvement and the delivery of efficient and effective County services.   The County’s human resources systems must reward, motivate, and sustain customer service focused behaviors.    In response to the Board’s direction, a team was formed to develop a “total rewards” strategy. The team reviewed the County’s current merit compensation and performance management systems, solicited employees’ perceptions about the current system and evaluated changes that would support our pay and performance philosophy.  At the September 2004 meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved the recommendations of the Total Rewards team and has implemented the Employee Recognition Program and a Revised Merit Pay for Performance matrix.  Staff is continuing the evaluation of skill and competency differentials and broadbanding. 

 

Note: The School Division is currently collecting feedback and assessing options regarding development of a total rewards strategy.  

Employee Recognition Program   (Implementation occurred mid FY05)

The Employee Recognition Program is one component of the Total Rewards strategy that addresses the need to acknowledge extraordinary employee contributions.  Program objectives are as follows:

 

·               Provide the employees of Albemarle County Local Government a set of performance criteria so   that they may identify exemplary, deserving behaviors in an employee;

·               Give the employees of Albemarle County Local Government options to formally recognize and reward employees for exceptional performance. 

·               Provide individual departments with the flexibility and guidelines to exercise this program that best fits that department’s functions and culture.

 

Funding for this program is provided at the departmental level, based on the number of FTE’s in the department.    Last spring, Human Resources worked with Departments to define those standards at the departmental level so that consistent, clear expectations of performance are established.   Information on return on investment will be provided at the end of this fiscal year.

 

Merit Pay for Performance  (Implementation FY06)

Eligible employees receive an annual merit increase, effective July 1.  The amount of the increase has been based on a formula that includes the following factors: an employee's performance evaluation rating, an employee's salary in relation to the midpoint of their paygrade, the merit pool percentage increase, and the available funding within their departmental pool. Available funding was calculated by multiplying the proposed market adjustment by the salary mid-points.  Based on employee and manager feedback, the following issues were identified with regard to this merit plan:

 

·               The formula is complicated and difficult to understand due to the number of factors in the formula and the pool concept;

·               Employees are not able to establish the link between their performance and the reward due to the variable pool;

·               Available funding can impact the merit pool for a department which then impacts the merit amount received by employees;

·               The small pool amount does not adequately differentiate performance; and

·               The merit system is not consistent with the Board strategy to pay employees who “meet performance or exceed expectations” at the market rate.

 

Based on these inherent problems in the current merit system, the Total Rewards team proposed a Merit matrix designed to continue to reward employees with an annual salary increase based on the market data and Worldatwork.  In addition, a fixed merit amount will be added to the salary increase, based on the relation of the employees’ salary to midpoint and the level of performance. This merit matrix was adopted by the BOS for a July 2005 effective date and is consistent with the Joint Board adopted strategy to pay employees at market rate and ensure that high performing employees whose salaries may be at or above the midpoint will not receive less than the market increase. This option is also simple to communicate and administer.  Additionally, the number of performance rating categories have been expanded in FY05-06 from three to five in order to allow managers more flexibility in differentiating performance.   Although some of the details of the matrix may be revised, the following example illustrates the matrix merit concept:

 

Position in Pay Grade Range

Fails to Meet Expectations

Needs Development

Successfully Meets Expectations

Meets and Occasionally Exceeds Expectations

Exceptional

Below Midpoint

No Increase

Market - 1%

Market + 1%

Market + 1.5%

Market + 2%

Above Midpoint

No Increase

Market - 1%

Market

Market + 0.5%

Market + 1%

 

RECOMMENDATION:

Budget Development Projections for FY06-07 based on adopted methodology:

 

These projections are presented to the Boards for their consideration in providing direction to both the County Executive and Superintendent for FY06-07 budget preparation.  It is noted that all final funding is subject to, and based upon, available state and local revenue.

 

1)      2.5% increase in the classified salary scale.

2)      3.95% merit pool for classified staff.

3)      Fund teacher increases to reach and/or maintain top quartile (including 3.65%) to be distributed along the scale.

4)      Continuation of a longevity increase for teachers.

5)      Anticipate a 5% increase in medical plan costs.

6)      Anticipate a 7% increase in dental plan costs.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – Competitive Market List

B – 2005-2006 Salary Survey

C – Teachers’ Scale – Top Quartile Graph

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