Berry Pay Hike
Ron Bolin — September 30, 2010
Letter to the Editor, Nanaimo Daily News:
Derek Spaldings “Former city manager will get increase to severance payout” is indeed a stick in the City’s eye, but it is hard to see how the city can keep him from getting an increase better than 3 times that of our still serving senior staff given the wording of the agreement made with him:
“Jerry Berry (the “Employee”) will receive severance in the form of salary continuance for a 24 month period, (the “Severance Period”) commencing on the date of acceptance of these terms, where salary increases are annual as of January 1 each year as set by “Hay” based on the Employee’s points at 100 per cent, and where the Employee’s salary will not be reduced below its current level.”
Heads he wins, tails we lose. If the Hay system raises the bar he gets the raise. If, incomprehensibly, Hay were to go negative, he is guaranteed against reduction. We have a Council, a Human Resources Department and legal advisor(s) all of which overlooked the implications of that to which they had agreed.
The joker in all this is the Hay system. While pay and benefit packages for government employees at all levels have been noted to be some 30 or more percent greater than for similar jobs in the private sector and benefits are platinum, we continue to subscribe to its use. The circularity of the system, in which raises by one authority are spread to all others which then set off a new round of raises independently from circumstances leads inevitably to a daisy chain reaction of salary and benefit excesses.
The wild card in this situation is that senior staff accepted a 1.5% cap rather than the 4.9% dictated by Hay. Staff’s move toward moderation is noted. Hopefully the Hay system is dead.
I have an agreement with my employer on what happens when I leave after many years of service and I know he will honor it and if anybody else does not like it, that is too bad. I get the same if I am fired, dismissed or quit.
You should ask the many employees of companies that have gone under about the value of their employment agreements. Ask those that are looking for their pensions, back pay or benefits. And ask whether cause does not enter into the equation. Does an employee who is dismissed for cause really get everything the agreement called for?
At any rate, given the wording of this agreement, and given that there has been no word about the extent, if any, to which cause may have been involved, I cannot see the leg on which the City stands to keep him from an increase which has been supplied by the Hay system.
There is a central pivotal issue: was this severance agreement negotiated voluntarily by the parties involved or were its terms mandated by an existing legally binding agreement with the previous Council/Gary Korpan administration. Either way there should be political hell to pay for all involved.
I thought that the agreement for severence is quite common among City Administrators and is not special at all, although to most of us that do not have these types of contracts, it would be enough to make our blood boil.
Reading Derek Spalding’s article in the Oct.1st Daily he states “Last year the Hay system recommended no raise.”If this is true then why did City staff receive an increase averaging 1.9% or so?Is the policy to apply Hay when an increase is recommended and ignore it when no increase is recommended? Hell of a system,don’t you think?