Addressing Real Issues with Real Facts

Distorted street by Steve Johnson

Pay Dissatisfaction Distorted

in Addison Texas elections 2016/Employee Compensation by

Recently we shared with you the entire compensation process for all Addison employees that made all increases retroactive to January first of this year and caught us up to market. In fact, the Council approved the largest compensation increase in the history of Addison.

Despite these recent increases the opposition candidates are still telling voters that our Fire, Police and Rescue aren’t being paid enough. What’s left? 

Well, there is one thing — it’s called a “step plan” or a “step system.” And that is what the opponents would like to implement.  Before you think that might be a fine idea you might want to take a closer look at just what that means.

Fact: This type of increase has long lasting financial impact on a community

It mandates a stipulated percentage of increase each and every year based on nothing other than tenure. Once implemented it is there forever, regardless of performance, economic conditions, equipment needs or required capital improvements.

This approach inevitably puts pressure on a community’s budget, often requiring service to be cut and taxes to be increased in order to keep up with the annual step increases. This is the very system that has bankrupted communities in California and has made it impossible for Dallas to cover the $900 million needed to repair streets.

Fact: Critics have complained about taxes yet seem to embrace a pay system that would undoubtedly require future tax hikes in order to keep up with the step increases, if we are to continue to maintain the level of services Addison residents have come to expect

Fact: A step approach is contrary to Addison’s philosophy to tie salary increases to job performance rather than tenure — a philosophy that has been supported and adhered to by management for many years

The current performance system and philosophy is one that has been embraced by Council and City Management for many years. It helps to reinforce and motivate our Addison Way customer service culture.

Fact: In addition to approving a very fair and competitive increase, this Council has also approved every Fire/Rescue/Police equipment request in the past few years

These include: A new communication and dispatch system, a new state-of-the art $750,000 fire truck, a new ambulance, new protective vests made of high-tech material so that it breathes better, and new police vehicles.

Additionally, Addison replaces its police vehicles within a 75,000-mile range versus Dallas’ replacement at 200,000 miles.

Fact: Add to this Chief Paul Spencer’s comments during his recent annual report when asked how the officers felt about the recent pay increase.

“Everybody’s very appreciative of that, especially the 5%. That’s a big deal.” Pay is NOT a deterrent for retaining or hiring police, he told the Council. In fact he advised that many experienced, well qualified Dallas police would love to come to Addison but can’t because of our current mandatory requirement of a college degree — not money.

It is disingenuous and to a degree, threatening, to imply that our safety is at risk. It is also deceiving to imply that employees aren’t valued. 

Fact: A great value is placed on ALL Addison employees, including the brave work done by our Fire/Rescue and Police

That was just demonstrated by the management and Council providing fair and equitable increases within the traditional philosophy that management has enacted for years.

By maintaining this traditional philosophy the management and Council have acted responsibly to ensure that Addison not only compensates its employees fairly, yet also maintains the quality of service and growth that residents have come to expect and appreciate.

What else is disingenuous is the dishonest allegation that there is a “hemorrhaging” of staff.

Fact: Get real. The majority of the recent departures have been retirements for people who have held their positions for 30 years or more

Fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median employee tenure among workers age 55-64 is 10.4 years

The median tenure of all workers was 4.7 years for men and 4.5 years for women. The median tenure of workers age 25-34 is only three years. Welcome to reality.

Fact: The fact is this isn’t the 1980’s. It’s a changing world

People retire and people seek new and different challenges. And that’s not a bad thing. Any human relations professional will tell you that fresh thinking, fresh knowledge and fresh energy is good for any organization.

To blend the experienced with the new is also a smart thing to do. Walt Disney said, “When you blend the old with the new you get new again.” That’s where visionary and futuristic thinking comes from and that’s what keeps any organization or community fresh, vital and nimble enough to adapt with the inevitable changes of an ever-changing world. Thank heavens the current Council seems to know that.

Yes, pay is important. The Council has recognized that by implementing the largest increase ever across the board. But so are all the other fine services that Addison residents have come to enjoy and expect. Let’s not jeopardize that by believing the purposefully misleading information and fear mongering. Vote with the knowledge of real facts.

Photo of distorted street by Steve Johnson via Flickr cc

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