Personnel Policy Board
June 21, 2001
Bismarck, North Dakota
I. Opening Business:
A. The meeting convened at 9:45 a.m. Members present included Penny Miller, Rita Hannesson, Justice Mary Maring, Judge Mikal Simonson via conference call, Dion Ulrich, and Carla Kolling. Guests: Keithe Nelson and Jana Thielges.
B. Minutes of the February 7, 2001 meeting, in the form disseminated prior to this meeting, were approved on a motion by Rita Hannesson, seconded by Dion Ulrich.
C. Minutes of the March 19, 2001 Conference Call, were amended as follows:
Second paragraph, third full sentence was removed.
Ninth single sentence paragraph was removed and replaced with "Mr. Nelson commented that in order for the study to succeed, it needs to be supported by the Board".
Amendments were approved on a motion by Judge Simonson, seconded by Dion Ulrich.
II. New Business:
A. Jana Thielges presented a pay plan proposal for the 2001-03 Biennium. She explained that the 2001 Legislative Assembly authorized funding for staff salary increases of 3% on July 1, 2001, and 2% on July 1, 2002. Per the legislative authority, Jana recommended the following salary administrative plan for classified employees to take effect on July 1, 2001.
1. Increase salary ranges for all pay grades by 3%; grant a $35 per month salary increase to all employees; grant the difference between $35 and 3% of their June 30, 2001 salary to all employees whose salary does not exceed their identified step system salary, based on meritorious performance as determined by the hiring authority.
She proposed the following to take effect on December 1, 2001
2. Grant a pay equity increase of 5% to employees whose December 1, 2001 salary is 15% or more below their identified step salary, based on satisfactory performance as determined by the hiring authority.
Jana explained that recommendations set forth in 1 are consistent with the legislative intent for state employee compensation. She said that this past session, the legislative assembly incorporated language into the legislation which limits the full salary increase to those employees whose salary does not exceed their salary range maximum. She informed the Board that there are 8 clerk personnel who exceed the salary range. Since the legislature was clear in their directive, the Board felt compelled to comply with the legislation.
The Board discussed, extensively, the impact of limiting the full increase to only those employees whose salary does not exceed their identified step system salary as proposed under Jana's recommended pay plan proposal. Under the proposed recommendation, 40 clerk personnel and 3 court reporters would not receive the additional increase. The Board and Keithe Nelson were concerned with employee morale if the salary increase was limited to $35 since it does not come close to covering the cost of inflation. Jana informed the Board members that last July, those employees who where over their identified step did not receive the full 3% increase, they received $35.
Jana explained that recommendation 2 grants an additional pay increase of 5% to employees whose December 1, 2001 salary is 15% or more below their identified step salary. She said monies to fund this increase would be derived from savings received by not awarding the full salary increase to the 8 employees who are over their salary range.
Jana informed the Board that there are sufficient funds available with the legislative appropriated amounts to fund these increases, as well as regularly scheduled step increases.
The recommendation that the 8 employees over their yearly salary range receive a $35 increase and the rest of the employees receive a 3% based on meritorious performance as determined by the hiring authority, was approved, on a motion from Judge Simonson and seconded by Dion Ulrich. Rita voted no.
The recommendation that the salary ranges be increased by 3% was approved, on a motion from Dion Ulrich and seconded by Judge Simonson.
The recommendation to grant pay equity increase of 5% to employees whose December 1, 2001, salary is 15% or more below their identified step salary, based on satisfactory performance as determined by the hiring authority was approved, on a motion from Judge Simonson and seconded by Dion Ulrich.
B. Job Evaluation and Compensation Study - Final Report
Robert Bjorklund, Consultant, provided the Board with the final report of the job evaluation and compensation study. Bob explained that the primary objectives of the study were to conduct a diagnostic review of the Court's current job evaluation system and revise the current system or recommend a new job evaluation system; prepare, revise or update all job descriptions; determine the FLSA status of each position; evaluate all job classifications to assure classifications are aligned fairly and objectively on the basis of responsibility levels as determined by job evaluation; and conduct a market study to assess the competitiveness of the court's current pay rates and salary ranges and develop new salary ranges based on the results of the market study.
Job Evaluation Findings:
Bob stated that after calculating a intraclass reliability coefficient between each of the raters and against the current point values for 8 benchmark positions on each of the 15 factor criteria, ten of the 15 criteria currently used could be viewed as unreliable or marginal for use in a job evaluation. Bob stated that based on that discovery a new job evaluation system was developed, known as the Classification Matrix System. Once the system was identified, a position description questionnaire was developed and distributed to all employees covered under the study. Bob informed the Board once he received the completed questionnaires, he identified employees for follow up interviews. Employees from each current job classification were interviewed. The purpose of the interviews were to clarify, supplement and better understand the major job expectations, duties and responsibilities of each job. He said that once the interviews were completed, the job descriptions were revised and each job classification was evaluated using the new system. Each job classification was evaluated on the basis of five job evaluation factors; knowledge and skill; supervisory authority; public relations; working conditions and education and experience. He explained that a total point score was derived for each of the classifications based upon a summing of all the points on each of the five factor ratings. Based on this information new point spreads for grouping jobs into salary grades were made then each job classification was assigned to a salary grade based upon job evaluation total points.
Bob explained that the market analysis is used to gain information about the salary levels of comparable positions in organizations that Judicial System competes with for personnel, comparable labor market data was collected and analyzed. Bob stated that he collected salary information for 35 classifications from national and state public and private organizations as well as published survey sources. Bob explained that when he does market studies he does not do them to adjust the pay per individuals or for specific's jobs but looks at the current pay ranges in an organization to see if structural changes need to be made. He said that since jobs fluctuate from time to time you cannot adjust the ranges for those few jobs. For that reason, it is his goal is to see that 95% of the positions fall within a competitive salary range. After summarizing the data, his findings determined that on average, Judicial System's average pay minimums are 15.6% below the average market starting pay rates; on average, Judicial System's average pay rates are below the market average pay rates by 6.4%, and on average, the Judicial System's average pay maximums are 9.8% below the average maximum market pay rates. He said the information reflects that we are competitive in the lower pay grades but fall short in the higher pay grades. As a result it may be difficult to attract candidates to fill vacancies in the higher paying positions.
Bob explained that the final phase was to develop new salary scales and implementation plan. He said the pay scales were developed according to principles of sound compensation administration. He said the salary scales were designed to be competitive yet recognize internal equity considerations.
Bob informed the Board that the new salary structure set the new salary minimum at the market predicted trend minimum. He increased the minimum line values by a rate of 3% to reflect general increase for the year 2002. He said since the market data was effective for 2001, increasing the data by 3% permits the Judiciary to keep pace with the market. Bob explained that since the current approach to salary structure design sets the salary range maximum at a spread of 50% for all grades, he kept that the same. Furthermore, he set up a 11 step salary schedule which is simple to administer, understood by employees and does not conflict with current policies and procedures with respect to pay.
Chair Miller inquired whether Bob developed an alternative to the step salary schedule. Bob responded that the only alternative to a step salary schedule would be a performance based pay system. He discouraged that since the step system schedule has proven itself to be effective. Keithe agreed. He said that the step system has been one component of the system that has worked very well. Bob further stated that the Judiciary has not established the performance based criteria and therefore the performance based pay system is not an option.
Bob explained that the total cost to implement the proposed salary plan is forthcoming as he was waiting for the salary information on the clerks of court and their staff.
Job Evaluation Manual
Bob informed the Board that he has developed a job evaluation manual which contains the forms, templates used to rate the job and an explanation of how to apply the factors.
He said that if the Board adopts the system the manual will be provided to Carla.
Chair Miller inquired how easily the Classification Matrix System is to manipulate. Bob explained that the factor dealing with education and experience presents that opportunity by requiring more education and/or experience that is actually required in order to do the job.
The Board members unanimously agreed to withhold from taking action on the recommendation until they have had more time to review the information.
However, the Board members agreed to accept the report and its methodology as recommended by Bob Bjorklund with the understanding that the job descriptions setting forth the restructuring of the juvenile court and the education requirement for the account technician be amended.
Jana informed the Board that the legislature approved a full time position for the fiscal department. She presented a job description and requested the Board to consider forwarding the position to Bob for rating.
The request to adopt the accountant analyst position and forward it to Bob for rating under the old and proposed job evaluation system was approved, on a motion by Justice Maring, and seconded by Rita Hannesson.
The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.
Director of Human Resources and Development