By Robert Bloch, contributor
The Selectboard met twice last week, both being “special meetings,” meaning that they weren’t on the Selectboard’s regular meeting schedule of the 2nd and 4th Mondays. Monday’s meeting covered the agreement between the Town and Charlotte Volunteer Rescue Service, Inc. (CVRS). The agreement was created in 2014 and has been amended three times since, but it’s been several years since the entire agreement has been reviewed. The Selectboard went through the document paragraph by paragraph and identified items within the agreement that they intend to review in more detail at future meetings and then discuss with the CVRS Executive Board.
The major portion of the Tuesday meeting was used to address town employee compensation. This issue has risen to the top of the Selectboard’s agenda as the result of several factors. One was concerns raised by town employees in several departments, including the library and town clerk’s office, that their current pay level did not fully or accurately reflect their actual work and responsibilities. This is fairly commonplace in the workplace as technology, the search for increased productivity and other causes bring constant evolution in the way work is organized and performed. Add in the impact of changing minimum wage legislation and COLA (cost of living adjustment) calculations and an organization’s employee compensation program can become less competitive or equitable than it should be. The current employee compensation policy was created in 2015 and has not been thoroughly reviewed since then.
The other factor bringing Selectboard focus to employee compensation was the increasing difficulty the town has experienced in attracting well qualified people to apply for open positions. This is judged to be largely due to the simple fact that in several situations, the compensation the Town was offering was not competitive with other towns in the region.
At the meeting, Louise McCarren reiterated the goals of Town employee compensation policy, which are to provide our employees compensation that is competitive with the local marketplace and equitable across departments and among employees. Nan Mason reported on the Library’s recent work to assess their employees’ salaries. Selectboard members agreed that an assessment of all employee compensation was warranted. Much discussion ensued on determining the best way to go forward to achieve the desired result, including how best to use human resources consultant Gallagher Flynn, which had heretofore provided local market compensation analysis.
It was agreed as a “Phase 1” to use the Library’s positive experience as a guide. This means developing accurate, up-to-date job descriptions for all Town employees. This work would be completed by each employee in concert with their supervisor by March 31. Phase 2 of the project remains to be determined, but Louise McCarron was designated the Selectboard’s point of contact in working with Gallagher Flynn to devise a way forward.
In other Tuesday evening business, a transposition error in the ballot voted on at Town Meeting was corrected via the appropriate statutory process.