Fire district board hears salary recommendations

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | 10:44 p.m. CDT; updated 1:39 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Shelly Dometrorch, left, swears in newly elected Boone County Fire Protection District board members, from left, John Sam Williamson, David Griggs and Phyllis Fugit. Both Williamson and Griggs will serve six-year terms, and Fugit will serve a four-year term.

COLUMBIA — Salaries for Boone County Fire District employees would begin at $26,950 and be capped at $143,550 under a proposal by the fire district’s salary review committee to create new base and maximum salaries.

The salary recommendations, presented to the board Wednesday night, would cost the fire district a total of $29,100 in salary increases but would save money in the long-run by setting standards for salaries.

“I think it was important and something we needed to do,” Board Member Dave Griggs said. “This way everyone will know what their opportunities are and what are the expectations of the jobs.”

The salary review committee, led by board member Shelly Dometrorch, first met in November. The committee conducted an exhaustive review of each staff member’s role and salary in the fire district compared to seven similar fire departments around the country.

Each employee was given a numerical value based on responsibilities in the fire district. These scores were grouped into seven classification ranges, which were then given a suggested minimum and maximum salary.

“My goal was to do this as scientifically and objectively as possible,” Dometrorch said. “This process allowed the employees and community members to give input in the process. I am very proud of that.”

The recommendations were presented by Bob Scribner, an employee consultant who has worked with the district on several occasions. Scribner recommended the board:

— Accept the salary ranges proposed by the committee. The minimum salary for the lowest classification would be $26,950, and the maximum for the highest classification would be $143,550.

— Move two people who are currently below the minimum for their category up to the base salary. Fiscal impact for a year: $7,600.

— Freeze the salaries of the four people who are above the maximum salary of their category until the grid is adjusted in the future for cost of living increases.

— Give a $1000/year cost-of-living increase for every year employees of the middle three categories have gone without a raise since 2005. Fiscal impact: $17,000.

— Give a $500/year cost-of-living increase for every year employees in the top two categories have gone without a raise since 2004. Fiscal impact: $4,500.

Fire Chief Steve Paulsell’s salary of $177,058 is above the proposed salary limit of $143,550. His salary would be frozen under the proposal.

Scribner recommended a similar salary review be done about every three years as job duties change.

Before any of the recommendations are adopted, the board will conduct additional work sessions. No work sessions will occur until Scribner returns from his three-week trip to Russia.

The meeting began with the swearing in of new board members, John Sam Williamson and Phyllis Fugit, and the re-elected Dave Griggs. Extra chairs were brought in to seat the nearly 20 volunteers and community members who witnessed the event.

“I’m glad there is finally a five-person board. I think it is really going to help things here,” said Ray Davis, 2002 board candidate and 20-year district volunteer.

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