Town & County

City Council considering another 5 – 10% raise for Park City Municipal employees

“Compensation is the #1 point of feedback from applicants rejecting offers, combined with the extremely high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and as a result, the necessity to commute." - Park City Municipal’s HR director Sarah Mangano

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City Municipal is set to discuss preliminary findings from its latest market-based employee compensation study during the City Council meeting today at 5:30 p.m.

Over the past two years, the City’s Human Resources Team has worked on developing a new Employee Value Proposition program. This initiative marks a distinctive approach within public sector organizations, aiming to set Park City apart in a challenging labor market. It is driven by the Council and City’s vision to significantly improve Park City’s ability to attract, retain, and motivate a competitive workforce.

Park City Municipal’s HR director Sarah Mangano said, “Compensation is the #1 point of feedback from applicants rejecting offers, combined with the extremely high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and as a result, the necessity to commute. We also obtain feedback that, taken together, these factors frequently prevent candidates from applying for positions in the first place.”

The Employee Value Proposition program has already seen the introduction of several key initiatives, including a new quarterly performance review program, enhanced healthcare benefits, increased employee recognition via a new online system, and modernized recruitment processes. However, recognizing that competitive salary and hourly compensation rates are crucial, the City engaged NFP, a national leader in municipal compensation studies, to conduct a comprehensive analysis and help ensure Park City Municipal employees can either reside within the Wasatch back or be incentivized to commute.

This move follows a 2019 study by Mercer that showed Park City Municipal’s compensation rates significantly lagged behind market rates. Despite adjustments made post-COVID to counter inflation and a competitive job market, ongoing challenges in employee retention and recruitment necessitated this in-depth study by NFP.

“Public sector compensation is often a sensitive issue. Thus, Park City has historically used an independent evaluation every three to five years. It’s been five years since we last conducted this evaluation, and we have seen considerable fluctuations in market conditions due to COVID and inflation,” said Mangano.

NFP’s preliminary analysis suggests a shift from the existing “75th percentile” compensation philosophy to a more straightforward approach, ensuring Park City Municipal “pays competitively for the Park City job market.” This recommendation aims to simplify understanding and communication across Park City Municipal’s diversified workforce, which includes salaried, hourly, and seasonal employees.

The study involved updating over 160 job descriptions for accurate benchmarking against data from 40 Utah cities and counties, various U.S. resort communities, and applicable private sector data. Adjustments for geographic economic differences were made using cost-of-living calculators, highlighting Park City’s unique position compared to other areas. Park City’s current compensation levels are, on average, 19% below the necessary geographic economic difference factor.

NFP proposed a new structure of 14 salary bands designed to enhance internal and external equity, simplify compensation growth forecasting, and streamline future benchmarking processes. This structure also facilitates blanket market adjustments.

The City is now evaluating the implications of implementing these proposed salary bands and will soon present several compensation recommendations and strategies for Council consideration.

Park City Municipal currently has seven full-time positions open and numerous part-time positions. Mangano noted, “Two years ago when wages fell behind the market, we had 57 vacancies. As a result, the Council strategically approved a cost-of-living adjustment based upon the CPI and benchmarking against the Mountain West region to ensure that those adjustments were competitive with comparable markets. As we continue to grow to meet the demands of the public for services, we aim to emulate the proactive effort to remain competitive with the market and changing economic conditions. We cannot fall back again on our capacity to recruit and retain employees.”

Mangano reveals that the City’s current time to fill a vacant position is 89 days. The Transportation Director position was open for 314 days, and fleet mechanic positions have been vacant for over a year. Current open positions include Assistant Planning Director, Senior Planner, Front Desk- MARC, Engineering Capital Projects Manager, Water Treatment Operator IV, Economic Development Director, and Transit Dispatcher.

To join the meeting via zoom, click here.

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