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County to study employee comp; New plan could be 'huge mega change,' says personnel board chair

Otter Tail County has contracted with Fox Lawson and Associates, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services of St. Paul, to conduct a study of compensation and job performance of county employees.

Any new systems resulting from the analysis would affect both union and non-union county workers.

Fox Lawson will assist the county with a compensation plan that supports the county's strategies. Also included in the study will be performance appraisals, job evaluations and information on salary ranges. Fox Lawson will also work with the county on the goal of attracting competent and skilled employees.

Cost of the study is not to exceed $2,000.

County board members say they want to be fair to county employees while keeping in mind fairness to taxpayers in Otter Tail County.

Rick West, a county department head and chairman of the county employee personnel board, discussed the compensation study with county board members at a meeting earlier this month.

"It takes time to analyze all the data that we have," said West. "This is a nine-step (expansion) process. Our next teleconference meeting with the consultant (Fox Lawson) is Nov. 15. When put into place, this will be a huge mega change for the county."

The process of enacting the new plan calls for recommendations from the county employee personnel board, headed by West, going to the county board's personnel committee and then to the county board committee as a whole.

The goal is to have something new put into place shortly after the first of the year.

"Every two to three years, there needs to be a study such as this conducted to ensure that we're current," said West.

County Coordinator Larry Krohn said that when the new compensation study is completed, and later enacted, the recommendations won't just sit on the shelf. He agreed with West about the need to keep things current.

"Adjustments can also be made from time to time," said Commissioner John Lindquist.

Approximately 450 full-time, part-time and temporary/seasonal employees work for 19 different county departments.