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Board discusses salary study

By Staff | Nov 7, 2014

The Pierce County Board of Commissioners met in regular session Thursday.

The board was joined by a pair of consultants for Dakota Dynamics, which will conduct the county’s salary study.

The two-part project will begin soon and take about three months. The first part will be the employee compensation study, where every full-time county employee will be interviewed. The company will find five comparable counties in North Dakota and possibly across the Midwest with about the same amount of full-time employees, according to project leader Galen Cariveau.

The commissioners stated they would like counties to the west to be considered as Pierce County is on the fringe of oil industry impact.

Data will be generated to see how Pierce County employees are compensated compared to the market.

“We don’t recommend any wages be reduced,” Cariveau said, “but if a person is above market we may ask that that employee only get a cost of living increase.”

Cariveau ensured the commissioners that data will be provided and only the county can make decisions to adjust employee pay.

In order to most accurately compare an employee to peers in other counties, years of service will be taken into account. A 20-year employee will not be compared to a five-year employee. Job performance also will be assessed.

If the county is at 60 percent of the market, for example, the board will have to come up with a multi-year plan to bring all employees closer to market.

Cariveau explained that some counties have set a goal to be at 85 percent. Other private and public entities have shot for 100 percent to establish themselves as leading employers in their respective regions.

The second part of the project will develop a three-year compensation plan for employees. Cariveau said changes could be made to salaries in 2015, as the study will not be completed before February. The board could also opt to enact changes for 2016.

Cariveau warned the board that some employees may not like the process, depending on how they work. Cariveau said, on average, employees in the Midwest meet employer expectations 80 percent of the time.

District 5 Commissioner Dave Migler asked if the consultants can assist county superivsors with conducting employee evaluations. The company will assist in training the supervisors.


Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center administrator Mike Graner joined the meeting for his monthly report.

The commissioners approved HACTC bills and financial report.

Graner said the average number of inmates was 119 for October and 105 for September. On Thursday, the facility had 128 inmates. He said the daily population has been substantially higher through the last five weeks.

HACTC has a new boarding contract with Ward County to help that neighboring entity get back down to its capacity. Graner said 2015 contracts will remain the same except the Bureau of Indian Affairs per-day boarding fee will rise from $70 to $75.

The Ford Expedition purchased for transport is expected to be ready in January, once fitted with necessary barriers and equipment.

The jail was conducting three interviews Friday for two openings. Sgt. Ben Jenkins, a seven-year veteran at the facility, is resigning. Graner praised Jenkins.

Graner said the first leadership training was held Oct. 30 and was attended by eight county employees, and 10 others from the City of Rugby, McHenry County and Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Graner said the county shouldn’t be paying boarding costs because the facility is owned by the county. Discussion was held on ideas for revenue, including adding money to the general fund to help with the sheriff’s department budget.

Other news

The commissioners held a brief conference call with the Benson County Board of Commissioners about shared roads that receive federal aid. They also reviewed the FEMA money available for 2015.

Matt Johnson of Wold Engineering informed the commissioners that the Knox Road could be added to the aid list without having to drop the York Road.

The board approved October minutes, bills, financial report and treasurer checks. $100,000 of state funds was tranferred from highway distribution to road and bridges to meet expenses. Payment of $152,500 was approved for a new motorgrader.

District 3 Commissioner Rick Larson commended Memorial Hall manager Rick Srur for work repairing the sidewalk behind the building.

District 4 Commissioner and Chairman Duane Johnston commended outgoing Commissioner Bohl for his service and never missing a meeting.

Abatements were approved for Doretta Gamiles, Carma Mathison and the other applicants approved at Monday’s city council meeting (see page 6).

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