Citing the lack of a comprehensive study into the compensation and benefits Bloomfield Township employees receive and how they compare to similar communities in Michigan, the board of trustees on Monday, September 9, approved the first step to begin looking into the issue.
Bloomfield Township Finance Director Jason Theis said while the township has participated in comparative compensation studies with other communities in the past, the municipality hasn't had its own study done to evaluate its own workforce.
"As long as I've been here – 12 years – we haven't done something this comprehensive. But the prior finance director, as well as I since I have been here, across all the departments, we take part in surveys that come our way. Because we participate in surveys with these other communities that they are doing on wages and various benefits, when they get all the communities who participated, they will then release that information to everyone who took time to participate," Theis said. "We have always had those things. While not this comprehensive... those have been helpful over the years to kind of gauge where we are... I wouldn't say that nothing has ever been done. I would disagree with that."
Overall, the city has 21 departments consisting of 311 union and non-union employees. That total includes three full-time elected officials (the clerk, supervisor and treasurer), as well as 242 full-time and 72 part-time employees. The workforce includes 145 employees represented by four different unions or bargaining units, with all existing contracts expiring as of April 1, 2020. Additionally, elected trustees are paid a stipend per meeting.
On September 9, the board of trustees approved issuing a request for proposals from vendors to conduct the study. Vendors interested in submitting a proposal have until Monday, September 23, to submit questions to the township, and until Monday,September 30, to submit proposals, with the hope that a study may be complete by mid-January.
Township Supervisor Leo Savoie said the hope is the study will be available by the time contractnegotiations begin, or at least ready if negotiations go to arbitration.
In addition to providing information during union negotiations, the goal of the study is to allow the township to recruit and retain a highly qualified workforce. Further, the study will review the current job descriptions and job levels and assist in making any adjustments, if necessary.
Savoie said a committee will be formed to evaluate proposals received by the township. The preliminary scope of the study remained broad, with more than a dozen requirements. Those include conducting a competitive market analysis of pay and benefit levels and workloads; analyzing the quality and competitiveness of the township's benefit programs; making recommendations for changes that integrate with total compensation strategy; developing a job evaluation system; conducting internal equity evaluations of each job; developing pay and classification structures to potentially implement; assisting in the development of an employee communications program; and additional work.
The study, Savoie said, also will include a study of the three elected administrative positions.
Trustee David Buckley recommended the board table the action and delay issuing a request for proposals for at least two weeks in order to take input from the public as to the scope of the study.
The board approved issuing the request as presented by a vote of 6-1, with Buckley opposing.