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Princeton postpones decision on pay structure.

Byline: Hunter Amabile

PRINCETON - Selectmen will need more time to decide whether to take on a new practice for paying town employees.

During a presentation at a Dec. 17 meeting, Don Jacobs, municipal consultant, proposed defining compensation based on uniform job descriptions and establishing a competitive midpoint for salary ranges sampled from eight comparable towns.

Selectmen decided to wait until early January to decide.

"I'm not ready to vote on this yet," said Neil Sulmasy, selectman.

Mr. Jacobs called the town's process for making compensatory decisions "consistently inconsistent," and said there were "issues" with the system.

The town currently does not define why an employee receives the pay he or she does, Mr. Jacobs said.

Town Administrator John Lebeaux has encountered this problem when employees ask about their compensation, he said.

"I could not answer a very simple question: Why am I getting paid? What am I getting paid for? and What's the plan for advancement?" Mr. Lebeaux said.

Still, based on comparisons to other towns, Princeton has been offering competitive pay.

"It's not really about how to pay someone more money or less money," Mr. Jacobs said. "It's really about a consistent position for compensating an employee."

The new plan, which has been supported with a unanimous vote by the Personnel Board, will define six grade levels for employees based on qualifications for the job and the responsibilities of the job.

Each pay grade would have a midpoint salary figure and a minimum-to-maximum range that would allow employees to advance in payment based on merit and experience.

In the proposed plan, Grade 1, the lowest level, would have a midpoint of $15.03 per hour. The lowest pay would be $12.02, and the highest $20.43.

Grade 6, the highest pay grade, would have a proposed midpoint of $33.27. The lowest pay would be $26.62, and the highest $42.49.

The plan would also establish a hiring range and a retention range within each salary range.

A similar plan was suggested in 2008, though it was never implemented, said selectman Stan Moss.

"I'm pretty impressed with the final output. I think that the range gives us a lot of flexibility to address an employee who takes initiative and has a higher level of performance," Mr. Moss said.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 21, 2012
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