Kannapolis city employees to get 1.26 percent pay increases

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2018

KANNAPOLIS — Salaries for Kannapolis city employees have been found wanting, according to a preliminary study by city human resource and finance personnel.

The results of the study led to a 1.26 percent raise for all city employees, what officials call a stopgap measure while the city further investigates how its pay rates stack up against neighboring municipalities.

The City Council approved the raise at its Monday meeting.

Council members requested the preliminary study as the city underwent its budget process in an effort to address concerns raised by city staff.

Staff members, specifically members of the Police Department, said pay rates were not competitive enough to attract new staff or retain existing employees.

Using data from the 2017 North Carolina County Salary Report, Human Resources Director Tina Cline, Finance Director Eric Davie, and budget and management analyst Jason May found the city’s minimum pay grades were consistently lower than area benchmarks.

The benchmark data was collected from Cabarrus County, Iredell County, Concord, Huntersville, Mooresville, Salisbury, Statesville and Harrisburg.

City staff found that the 373 full-time equivalent employees fall within pay grades ranging from a minimum of $23,157 to $90,816 annually.

Kannapolis consistently ranked lower when compared to the median minimums of neighboring counties and cities, averaging 1.26 percent lower across all pay grades.

Employees in the lowest ranges trailed the furthest, with employees in Grade 60 making 7.61 percent less than those in the surrounding area.

But those in the upper third of Kannapolis’ pay grades fared better, in many instances rising above benchmark medians. Those in the Grade 86, for example, brought home a minimum of $82,372. That’s $1,761 or 2.18 percent more than for other municipalities.

The Kannapolis City Council voted to address the average 1.26 percent shortfall with an equal raise for all employees.

The raise puts on hold 15 additional staff members throughout the city that had been approved, including a fire marshal, civil engineer, streets crew supervisor, planner, communications multimedia specialist, public works warehouse assistant, water treatment plant operator and maintenance worker, and water quality technician, as well as two police officers, two park maintenance technician,s and two water and sewer maintenance workers.

The new positions, hired mid-fiscal year, would have cost $432,994 in the 2018-19 fiscal year, including $295,000 for vehicles for eight of the proposed positions.

The raises, by comparison, will cost the city $207,975, meaning the city will save $225,019.

According to the Annette Privette Keller, director of communications, the positions are on hold until a more comprehensive salary study can be completed.