Albany set to examine pay scale of city workers

Feb. 21—ALBANY — The Albany City Commission is poised to initiate a second pay study in as many years, and the results could mean a pay raise for the city's roughly 900 employees.

Four companies submitted proposals for the project, with Baltimore, Md.-based Bolton recommended to perform the city's pay study.

"They're going to give us some advice on what pay should be for our employees," City Manager Steven Carter said during an interview following the meeting. "This is going to give us a comprehensive look at where we are with our employees."

The city has about 1,200 funded positions, but there are currently about 900 workers employed.

During the meeting, Ward IV Commissioner Chad Warbington alluded to a study performed last year that was deemed insufficient to meet the goal of determining how much pay employees should receive for their jobs.

"What's going to be different this time?" he said of the proposed $51,500 study. "Employees were obviously looking at this. We got to the end last year, and the data was no good. (Do) y'all feel comfortable about what we're going to get out of this?"

Dan Ripberger, a Bolton representative who attended the meeting, said the company chosen for the initial study was not one known in the world of compensation analysis work.

Bolton has a 40-year history, he said, and performs the scope of work the city is seeking.

"We provide compensation consulting services," he said. "We deal with pay levels, pay studies."

Carter told Warbington that he was satisfied that the company can provide what the city requires.

"It didn't actually provide what we needed," Carter said of the previous study. "I think we got what we paid for."

If the commission approves hiring Bolton as a consultant at its Feb. 28 meeting, the pay study should be completed by around the end of April. That will give staff sufficient time to include recommendations for salary increases in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

"One good thing about the city is we're financially sound," the city manager said said. "We're not struggling with debt. We're in really good shape."

Carter could not give an immediate number for the unfilled positions in city jobs but said that it has certainly been hard to find workers after COVID-19.

"As we've come out of COVID, the workplace has changed drastically," he said. "From lower-paid to higher-paid, we've struggled to get people in. After COVID, it's like half the work force doesn't exist anymore."