City salaries to be more compatible with Bismarck’s
By Brian L. Gray
In an effort to refrain from losing staff to other cities, the city of Mandan has decided to increase its city employees’ salaries to be comparable to the city of Bismarck.
Beginning July 1, employees’ salaries will be adjusted in order to increase them to within 95 percent of Bismarck’s similar jobs. Increases will go up 5 percent each year until they are more compatible with Bismarck. The total cost for the remainder of the year will be $112,500.
The salaries are changing in order to keep employees from leaving for other jobs, which the city has been plagued with in the past due to other cities offering larger salaries and benefits. One department that has struggled with understaffing the last several years is the police department.
The request for the salary bumps came from a salary study performed this year. The last study was completed by Condrey & Associates seven years ago, in January 2008. In the future, city employee salaries will be revisited every year during the city budgeting process.
Mandan City Commissioner Sandy Tibke said the increase is a “critical and first step in recruiting and retaining new employees,” pointing out that the cost of training and retraining new employees has taken up an extraordinary amount of time.
“Recruiting and retaining pays in the long run,” Tibke said. “Losing someone you’ve trained is something that’s hard to recapture. There are major benefits to having someone with experience who is there for the long run.”
Based on exit interviews with city staff members who have left, City Administrator Jim Neubauer said the three main factors the employees made in leaving for other positions are pay, retirement and health coverage. He said while some city employees will see pay increases, others will not.
The city’s retirement plan maximum contributions will also increase from 7 to 8 percent.
“While we’re trying to be comparable with Bismarck, we’re trying to be fiscally responsible. And if we can do more in the future, we’ll do all we can,” Neubauer said.