Avon spends $142K on raises, $5K on salary consultant

Not all employees see pay boost

AVON, Ind. - The town of Avon is giving $142,000 worth of raises to its workers, but not every employee will receive one and some will receive a higher increase than others.

A concerned citizen contacted Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney asking why the town manager and public works director received large raises, while other employees received no raise at all.

Kenney did some checking and learned Avon hired consultant, New Focus HR, for $5,040 to conduct a compensation study.

New Focus HR analyzed salaries in comparable-sized communities such as Danville, Brownsburg, Plainfield, Westfield and Franklin.

"The gist of the survey is there were several positions in Avon that were not competitive with the market, and were paying well below the market rate," said Kristen Shingleton, owner of New Focus HR.

For example, Avon Town Manager Tom Klein earns $73,325, but the "market rate" for that position is $90,971, according to the study .

READ: Avon compensation study  (http://bit.ly/1doDGIN)

As part of the raises, Klein will receive an 18 percent increase, bringing him to $86,422.

The consultant study also found the Public Works Director Ryan Cannon earning $63,340 compared to the "market rate" of $81,663.

Cannon will receive a 36 percent raise, bringing his salary to $86,422.

Five of the town's 30 employees will not receive a raise at all.

"There has been some negative feedback, I'm not going to deny," said Council President Mike Rogers. "Some are 2 to 3 percent (raises), while others have 10 to 15 percent."

Rogers explained the raises aren't based on performance, but they're aimed at retaining and attracting the best employees.

"We know we're in competition with other communities for employees," said Rogers. "We've had people who've gone out of state."

Rogers said they hired a consultant because they wanted an independent, unbiased review of salaries.

"We had to take the politics and conflicts out of it and go out and seek a consultant to do that work," said Rogers.
Shingleton has eight other government clients in central Indiana.

"They're concerned with the caliber of employees they're able to recruit, and so they want to be competitive in the market to hire the best and brightest employees," said Shingleton. "Or secondarily, (they want) to keep their top performing employees on staff."

Rogers also points out the town has grown by 20 percent because of annexations, meaning employees have more to do.

"We have created equity and parity with our employees the best we can with the dollars we have available," said Rogers.

The raises make up about 1 percent of the town's annual budget.

The town was unable to provide a complete list of employees, their salaries and raises.

"We're still working on that and will make that available to you," said Rogers.

The raises were approved by the board on Oct. 10.

Matt Greller, director and CEO of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, said he has seen other communities besides Avon hire a consultant to do a compensation analysis.

"I think it's a good idea particularly in an urban area like Avon where the competition for quality employees is greatest," Greller wrote in an email to RTV6.

Greller also said more communities are giving raises than in previous years.

"I don't think we ever see a year where lots and lots of cities and towns are giving raises, however, we are seeing more this year than in the previous three or four years," said Greller in an email to Kenney. "I think it's important to remember that most municipal employees have not received a raise in multiple years.  Most of these raises have been three percent or less." 

Mike Rogers said while Avon has given stipends to employees the past few years, town workers have not received general raises in several years.

"We have to move as the market moves," said Rogers.

Town Manager Tom Klein said the raises will cost the town approximately $142,600, including the associated changes in retirement and Medicaid, assuming all positions are filled on Jan. 1.

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