GENEVA – Aldermen recommended approval Monday for a compensation and classification study for non-union city employees, costing $35,500, with Tri-Com Central Dispatch contributing $5,700.
Acting as the Committee of the Whole, aldermen voted 7-2 with one absent to award the contract to GovHR of Northbrook. Fifth Ward Alderman Robert Swanson and 3rd Ward Alderwoman Becky Hruby cast the two no votes and 1st Ward Alderwoman Tara Burghart was absent.
The City Council will take final action on the recommended contract.
The city follows industry practices to remain competitive to attract workers. Compensation must be reviewed every three to five years – and the city’s adopted plan requires compensation to be reviewed every five years, City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said.
“With COVID-19 and pending retirements driving an increasingly competitive job market, a review of the current plan is essential if the city intends to continue to fill key positions that become vacant by recruiting the most qualified talent,” Dawkins said.
Geneva had previously participated with Batavia in a joint study in 2017, Dawkins said.
Six consulting firms had responded to the city’s request for proposal, she said.
The study covers 68 non-union positions, Dawkins said.
Human Resources Generalist Mera Johnson, Assistant City Administrator Benjamin McCready and Tri-Com Executive Director Joseph Schelstreet interviewed three of the six and chose GovHR as providing the most responsive submittal, Dawkins said.
The company also has a good track record with its work at comparable communities, and offered the best value, Dawkins said.
But Swanson said when the city did a joint study with Batavia, it cost Geneva $16,000. And when St. Charles did its own study in 2021-22, it cost less than $25,000.
“And now we’re going on our own in 2022 and the cost is $35,000,” Swanson said. “Given that we have so much collaboration with St. Charles and Batavia, why didn’t we again try to do this with them, given that our peers are all the same and it appears to be quite a savings to be able to do this together?”
Johnson said she believed St. Charles spent over $30,000 for its study.
“I’m not sure how in-depth it was,” Johnson said. “For us, this time, we’re going to be doing a salary survey and we’re going to be coming up with comparable communities. And we’re also going to be looking at our scale – we’re going to be looking at the minimum and maximum, along with the job descriptions as well.”
Johnson said she was not at the city in 2017, but from what she understood, the study done with Batavia was more a market study.
“They did a salary survey and they essentially brought people who were below market – which is about the 50th percentile in our case – to market,” Johnson said. “They really didn’t look at job descriptions and where the scale fell. … This is a more in-depth analysis or look at our system.”
Johnson said she has filled about 20 positions since she’s been at Geneva, vacancies created by retirements and employees moving on.
“The market has changed drastically since 2017. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill positions, especially middle management positions,” Johnson said. “For example, the building commissioner position we just had – and we only got four applicants and one was an internal applicant.”
Johnson said another recent vacancy for fleet supervisor has received no applicants, but she also chalked it up to the holiday season.
Swanson recommended that in the future, the city look to partner with other cities when it does these studies.
The ranges of the proposed fees for the six companies that responded to the city’s request for proposal was $83,484 at the top down to $37,500 and the second lowest bid, which was GovHR, at $35,500, and the lowest bid was at $31,100, Johnson said.