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Study says city of Farmington should be paying higher wages

A recent study of the salaries of city of Farmington employees suggests that a few changes be made to the salary structure to bring local wages more in line with market standards.

Conducted by the consultant group Fox Lawson, the wage study findings were presented to the Farmington City Council at a workshop in October. The study indicates that many of Farmington’s salaries are under the market average and should be adjusted to be more competitive.

City staff and council members are still wading through all of the information presented by Fox Lawson, city administrator David McKnight said. Not only are council members going to be asked to consider some of the suggestions offered by the consultant, but the information will also be a key component in the labor negotiations that started last week.

The city of Farmington is negotiating contracts with the city’s two AFSCME units and the police officers’ union, McKnight said. Council members met in closed session following Monday’s regular council meeting to discuss early negotiation strategy.

The city’s union representatives have all received copies of the Fox Lawson study.

The consultant recommended Farmington change its salary structure to an 11-step structure, which would allow for several step increases at various levels within the organization. Doing so would mean increasing payroll almost across the board for city staff.

In developing the 2014 budget, McKnight figured in some salary adjustments for city staff, knowing that several contracts would be negotiated this year.

“I’m comfortable with the adjustments I made in the 2014 budget for staff,” he said.

Council members will meet again to revisit the wage study and determine whether to adopt Fox Lawson’s suggestions. Those discussions will happen in the coming weeks, McKnight said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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