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Wood County wage study work nearly done

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Wood County Courthouse, Wisconsin Rapids
Wood County Courthouse, Wisconsin Rapids
Lance Pliml, Wood County Boa... (Download MP3)

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WSAU) -  Comparing Wood County wages to the private business market has been challenging, but the process should finish next month.

County Board Chairman Lance Pliml says they used to have many different union workers doing similar jobs in different departments with a variety of pay scales. He said the goal was to simplify the structure and make sure county pay rates were not too far out of line with what similar jobs pay in the private market.

The original proposal from the study failed, so the data was given to a special Ad Hoc Committee to determine where the county should go with these issues.

Pliml expects the final recommendations from the wage study to be presented to the full County Board for the April 16th meeting. “I don’t know that we’ll have a 100 percent agreement on that, like anything else, but I think we’ll have a compromise, although I haven’t seen the final (version) of that. It probably will appeal to enough people to pass the 2/3rds majority to get something done.”

He says the study showed most Wood County employees were close to private market rates, but there were some exceptions on both the high and low end. “We had some people who were grossly underpaid. We also have some positions, who generally speaking in comparison to the private sector, are somewhat overpaid, and so we brought forth a proposal saying we’re going to freeze those wages that are overpaid until the market would catch up. We weren’t going to cut them, we were just going to freeze them. Then, if the wage study said we had people who were grossly underpaid, then we need to adjust that, too.”

The County Board Chairman isn’t sure there will be 100% agreement on the wage study recommendations, since some board members have concerns about merit pay or pay-for-performance structures. Pliml is hopeful that the Ad Hoc Committee brings something to the full board that can satisfy the required 2/3rds of the board to pass some useful and meaningful changes.

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