Pay Review proposed for Town’s Non-Union Employees

Most Town employees are covered by a Union agreement but there are 36 positions not covered by the Union Agreement.  A review in 2017 determined that the salaries for some positions were quite low compared to the competitive pay market – but these rates have not yet been adopted. The stated policy is to be competitive with comparable Towns and to be at the 50th percentile – that is, at the median of salaries paid by comparable Towns for similar positions.  At the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on 6 January, Human Relations Manager Melissa Henke will present a report recommending adoption of a revised pay grid for non-Union (Management) employees and adjustment of some positions/employees on the grid.

If the new rates are adopted, the budget impact for 2020 could be as high as $160,000 – or 0.66% of the draft budget amount but it’s not clear what the actual budget impact will be (see below).

There was also a review of pay equity but no adjustments were found to be necessary.

The report covers confidential employee pay rates, so that individual salaries are not disclosed, but the report does provide the total impact on 2020 budgets for three options to adopt a new grid and adjust the uncompetitive salaries.

And although the new grid is provided, the previous grid is not provided so a direct comparison is not possible.

2020 Grades proposed

Grade Level #1 Level #2 Level #3 Level #4 Level #5 Grade
  0.8548 0.889 0.9245 0.9611    
13 $145,760.50 $151,592.28 $157,645.74 $163,886.77 $170,520.00 25%
12 $116,261.35 $120,912.89 $125,741.25 $130,719.21 $136,010.00 21%
11 $96,234.90 $100,085.19 $104,081.85 $108,202.34 $112,581.77 11%
10 $86,770.01 $90,241.62 $93,845.20 $97,560.43 $101,509.14 2%
9 $84,805.71 $88,198.73 $91,720.73 $95,351.86 $99,211.18 6%
8 $80,381.71 $83,597.73 $86,936.00 $90,377.70 $94,035.69 6%
7 $75,957.70 $78,996.72 $82,151.26 $85,403.54 $88,860.21 8%
6 $70,204.50 $73,013.34 $75,928.94 $78,934.89 $82,129.74 -2%
5 $71,701.15 $74,569.87 $77,547.63 $80,617.66 $83,880.62 12%
4 $63,921.18 $66,478.63 $69,133.29 $71,870.20 $74,779.11 31%
3 $48,871.41 $50,826.73 $52,856.36 $54,948.89 $57,172.92 9%
2 $44,961.70 $46,760.59 $48,627.86 $50,552.98 $52,599.09 9%
1 $41,364.76 $43,019.73 $44,737.62 $46,508.73 $48,391.15  

I wonder whether anyone will accept a promotion from level 5 to 6?  Looks like an error or at least an anomaly!

There are 13 grades in the new grid compared to 16 currently so most employees will have new grades.

Three Options

Option #1
Move all adjusted positions to their new Grade. The Level to be the same Level as the incumbent. Extra salary cost would be $140,573.27 plus $19,680.26 for OMERS (pension) contributions – total cost increase $160,253.53.

Option #2
Move all adjusted positions to their new Grade but at a level giving the same rate as the salary that the current incumbent is currently receiving (or nearest above) except that if they have at least 10 years’ experience in their current position they go to level 4. This option would cost $92,206.56 for salaries and a $13,462.14 increase in pension contributions. Total cost is $105,668.71. 

Option #3
Move all adjusted positions to their new Grade at the level nearest (and above) to the pay of the current incumbent and move non-adjusted positions to the rate the same as or above what the current incumbent is currently receiving. This option would cost $45,127.09 for salaries and a $6,626.58 increase in pension contributions. Total $51,753.67.

For options 2 and 3, future years would see 4% increases as employees move up levels.

Note: the original report uses difficult to decipher language – hopefully I’ve “translated” correctly here.  For example, it’s not clear what is meant by “incumbent” in this context – the language used is obviously generalized to avoid indicating which salaries get adjusted but in doing so, the meaning gets lost. The original can be downloaded from the links below.

However, there are budget implications.  If there are no cuts made elsewhere, and if this is not already included in the draft budget, the increase will go well over the budget increase goal of 2%.  It’s likely that the draft budget already includes a 1.5% across the board increase so the impact could well be minimal, especially for option 3.

ML Consulting (Marianne Love) was hired for the review and is also scheduled to make a presentation at the Council meeting. Marianne describes the process used. She also says that no Pay Equity adjustments are needed and that the grades are separated by 10 points although this does not agree with the grid provided.   Download her presentation from the Links below.



At Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on 6 January, Council decided to go with option 3.  Emily Chorley emphasized the need to review compensation policy.

Update – 13 Jan 2020

Colleen McBride
Colleen McBride

Motions at the Committee of the Whole are routinely approved at the following regular Council meeting but there are exceptions. At the council meeting on 13 January, when it came time to approve the motion to increase the pay of Town employees per Option 3, Brian Darling moved to change that to Option 1. The difference is that Option 3 would cost $51K and Option 1 would cost $160K but would actually bring salaries to the goal of the 50th percentile instead of getting closer to the goal. Brian felt that paying better would reduce turnover of staff because the Town currently does not pay competitive salaries. Since the original motion was passed, Council has decided on a budget and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said she was disappointed that the issue was not raised during budget discussions because of the impact of the extra $109K.

Finance Director Ian Davey introduced the newly hired HR manager (perhaps interim?), Colleen McBride, and she said she had looked closely at the recommendations of the previous HR manager Melissa Henke and said that she strongly supported Option 1 and that it was the right thing to do.

Councillors generally agreed with Brian except for Emily Chorley who wanted a revised compensation policy that emphasized “pay for performance” together with annual performance reviews – which do not currently happen. Brian asked that the Treasurer should attempt to find the extra money from reserves or other non-levy sources. The motion passed 5-2.

If no non-levy sources are found, then the tax increase will no longer be 2.2% but instead will be 2.7%.

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30 December 2019 11:25 am

Private Industry – Worked in many places administering payroll and other positions. One place taking sick leave at all was discouraged even when sick, one guy I worked with dosed himself with eucaliptas to clear out the flem and hide the fact he was sick. If there was a sick plan it was limited to 6 days for the year. Family day – one company decided when it became law just not to pay it. As it was a place that still hired company drivers and kept their trucks in reasonable shape drivers were afraid to complain. Dispatch was by the most reliable efficient driver who often worked 12 hours days but didn’t see it in his pay cheque. Overtime pay was unknown. Employment zoos in insurance when downsizing due to company sale – glad I wasn’t starting out into a very changed workforce. Recognition for a job well done was suffering in many places.

28 December 2019 2:41 pm

– 2 – I do not make this claim with rancour. It is a fact. I had reason to search for a wide variety of positions in both private and government employment comparing requirements and level. Undoubtedly the government positions paid much better and were comparable to fewer private industry employers. Municipal employees are appreciated I believe, I appreciate them. However times are a changing and should be in some cases.

With all the past and new maintenance repairs to roadways, sewers, etc. expansion of services, population growth needs plus social programs that are very much in the news in Cobourg with further immediate needs I had hoped that the people involved could say no thank you, we are very comfortable – a general vote would be good. Also interesting to hear the results just as with union. It’s not a private matter at all.

28 December 2019 1:24 pm

Interesting the comparative is not what they would make in private industry positions but only other government type positions. Usually this type of employment with benefits is head and shoulders above private industry and all on the taxpayers’ dime.

Reply to  Observer
28 December 2019 2:48 pm

Not entirely true. Pension and benefits are usually better in the public sector but salary is usually better in the private sector.

Reply to  Durka
29 December 2019 1:43 am

Really Durka – I’ve worked for 2 out of 3 government bodies plus a myriad of private industries – in administrative work I often worked as a payroll administrator – where do you get your facts?

Reply to  Durka
29 December 2019 9:17 am

Pension and benefits are usually better in the public sector? NOT!

Reply to  greengrass
29 December 2019 11:22 am

Why do you say that greengrass? Government todate has provided a defined pension plan – the benefit plans I’m sure vary – I’ve administered some that include 6% vacation start which rises to 12% with seniority, 3 weeks of paid lieu time, 4 floating holidays, sick plans that were accumulative and paid out when leaving or retiring to a maximum of 6 months, full dental and medical – all plans were generous as compared to the private sector.

I was disappointed not to see the position to which these position pay scales were applicable to above. Just states non-union. Places I worked the non-union position received the same increases as the union positions as well as management.

Reply to  Observer
29 December 2019 12:12 pm

On the last why so many votes down folks? Only stating the facts and these kind of benefits are rarely seen in the private sector? In Defined Pension Plans they use the 90 factor for retirement – when age and years of service add up to 90 retirement at full pension. In this all time is calculated to determine pension – even if you hadn’t joined until later. Buy back is offered for time employed if pension was not elected at start of employment. Great working conditions with paid breaks morning and afternoon! Some places don’t even have a performance criteria – I’ve seen data entry style jobs where one employee is making over 100 entries and another 40 entries with less accuracy – nothing said by management.

Reply to  Observer
29 December 2019 12:42 pm

Wow – just reading the clauses from the Town of Cobourg employment – found under Minutes search – $15 per year of seniority for retirement parties, 10 carat gold rings service recognition, CUPE membership, non-union salary admin. as well – OMERS Pension!! They are a great pension plan! Check it out!

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Observer
30 December 2019 9:49 am

I expect all the votes down are by government employees. They should try be self employed as we have for 22 years. No benefits, no sick leave, no holiday pay or holidays, no pension…

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
30 December 2019 11:57 am

Most non government jobs have “defined contribution” pension plans…it’s time all govt./municipal jobs go this same route to take the risk away from the common taxpayer.

Reply to  cornbread
30 December 2019 12:58 pm

Some companies provide an employee contributory plan Cornbread. It helps as the employer is to match the contribution. A lady I know, a factory worker, had one brought to her workplace 10 years ago. She joined. This plan after 10 years contains $17,000. under RRSP. She may withdraw until it is all gone. on retirement. A benefit but compared to a Defined Pension Plan she would have received a monthly amount probably in the neighbourhood of $275. per month for life. So I am not anti union by any means but I think the government should review things all the way around – afterall the whole thing is taxpayer funded. Strange policies creep in that are really not productive. A blinder hiring system indicating combos of experience and qualification. A tricky area – there should be recogntion for a job performed well knowing that person will perform well in the next even if they weren’t top candidate, but a proved worker.

Reply to  greengrass
29 December 2019 3:54 pm


Reply to  greengrass
29 December 2019 7:46 pm

Thank you for your clarification on your understanding greengrass, but public refers to government organizations confusing as it may sound. I don’t know about here but in other government employ the seniority factor was extemely stengthened – one large government organization often in the news promotes now more on the basis of seniority. Used to be 1/2 point on an exam for every year of service – now the most senior person gets the job despite the mark even if it is right on the pass line.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  greengrass
29 December 2019 9:37 pm

Public = Government
Private = Non Government. Business

Reply to  Canuck Patriot
31 December 2019 9:34 am

SORRY i SREWED UP private public ———- private VERY FEW BENEFITS!