Pioneerland Library to increase salary structure
WILLMAR - Most employees of the Pioneerland Regional Library System will see pay increases after a salary survey found that their compensation lags behind that of other primarily rural systems in Minnesota and neighboring states.
WILLMAR – Most employees of the Pioneerland Regional Library System will see pay increases after a salary survey found that their compensation lags behind that of other primarily rural systems in Minnesota and neighboring states.
Members of the Pioneerland Library board of directors approved adopting a new salary structure that will increase overall compensation by 3.3 percent in 2015 at a projected cost of $66,783 to the system.
Board members acted at their meeting Thursday in Willmar.
Actual pay adjustments will vary employee to employee, and not all will see increases. At least two head librarians will have their pay frozen in 2015, according to information presented at the meeting. Board members approved a new salary schedule that is based on a study and proposal presented to them by Robert Bjorklund, of Bjorklund Compensation Consulting in Eden Prairie.
It establishes 18 separate grade classifications, and sets new minimum and maximum wages for each based on a 12-step system.
The survey results come just after Pioneerland negotiated a 2 percent salary increase with its 17 head librarians, represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to information at the meeting. Pioneerland has around 150 employees, with most as part-time or substitute employees.
The salary study found that salaries offered by Pioneerland were on average 10 percent below the market. Pay for entry-level jobs at Pioneerland was most often below that offered at other systems. The pay disparities grew at upper levels too. “As jobs increase in responsibility, we kind of get less and less competitive,’’ Bjorklund said.
Pioneerland Director Mark Ranum indicated that Pioneerland has been able to recruit talented employees, and said difficulties varied most often by geography. Systems in the metropolitan area offer higher starting wages than those in areas to the west. “Where we have seen difficulties, they are significant difficulties,’’ Ranum said.
The salary adjustments will be effective starting in January.
Board members approved the new schedule on a voice vote after rejecting a motion to table action. The motion to table had fallen by a showing of hands with six for and 17 against.
Graylen Carlson, Lac qui Parle County representative, had proposed tabling the matter until the January meeting.
Carlson and others noted that the library’s new salary schedule will play a role in setting the wage market as city and county governments in the area negotiate new contracts.
Others rejected the argument. “Apples to oranges,’’ said Cheryl Heimerl, city of Madison representative, of comparing the library pay structure to that of cities and counties.
“We’re making it too complicated. The question is: Are we going to come into line with the market or not,’’ said Everett Reilly, city of Litchfield representative.
Others also pointed out that they had expected that the salary study would reveal that Pioneerland was behind others. They said they were relieved that the cost of catching up was not as great as they had feared.
Delaying action would only allow the disparities to grow and ultimately cost the system more to catch up, warned Francis Schweiss, city of Fairfax representative.
The system had not adjusted its salary schedule since 2001, according to Brett Olson, chairman and Big Stone County representative.
Ranum and Laurie Ortega, director of library operations, said they believed the Pioneerland budget would be able to absorb the added staffing costs based on the preliminary budgets of its contributing members. The system includes 32 libraries in the counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, McLeod, Meeker, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine.