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North Logan Council can’t update city’s wage scale for lack of quorum

September 24th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Steven Crass

NORTH LOGAN — A move to update the North Logan city wage scale failed to pass in a 2-1 vote at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Approval of this first step in the scale transformation would have called for city officials to begin evaluating the current scale, which hasn’t been modified since 2008, but the proposal did not pass because the council didn’t have a quorum.

The council did, however, agree to recall the issue after the vote. They will revisit the issue at a future meeting when all council members are in attendance.

“I think that what we want here is an understanding of what the equivalent positions are in our state,” said Councilman Allen Kartchner. “Not approving this means we are closing our eyes to that effect… I think we are foolish to let it go another three years again.”

Councilwoman Nancy Potter voted against the proposal, saying she was wary of giving city employees a false sense of entitlement.

“The only problem I have with this raising is that it gives people an expectation of what they should be as compared to what we can afford,” said Potter. “Sometimes you know you really want to pay people more, but you shouldn’t.”

City Administrator Jeff Jorgenson said the scale does not define or improve workers’ annual salaries. It merely states the pay ranges that each level of employee is granted. Jorgenson said the scale is based upon a collection of average employee wages at other local cities. Once the averages are collected, each category is established with the average at its center point, and a fluctuation of 15 percent on either side.

Jorgenson said typically the scale is evaluated every year, but it has not been discussed for three years now due to lack of funding from a dwindling economy. Yet with the creation of a new public works director position, he stressed the need to classify the new position within the pay scale at the very least.

Mayor Lloyd Berentzen said he recognized the need to update the current pay scale, but did not approve of changing salaries unless the need arose to move low-level employees into the minimum area of the scale.

“Given the exact amount of total salaries that we have right now, we are not going to go beyond that,” said Berentzen. “[Salaries] should not move from one step to the next, because that is above and beyond dollars that we have approved.”

North Logan City Council will hold its next meeting Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.


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