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.