Over the last several months, Mayor Berke has spoken a lot about strengthening economic mobility for all Chattanoogans so that we can stabilize and grow our middle class. As we encourage employers throughout our community to invest more in their own employees, it is vital that city government lead in this way.

One of the ways that we are choosing to lead is by moving forward with a compensation study for all non-sworn employees — our first exhaustive review of employee compensation since 2006.

Today, the City of Chattanooga has approximately 2,500 full-time employees, making it one of the largest employers in our metro area. Simply put, the ways that we currently categorize employee positions, incentive performance, and compensate our team members needs to be updated from top to bottom. When local government struggles to recruit the very best employees, or when those employees feel like they must seek better opportunities elsewhere, there are significant costs to citizens and taxpayers. 

We owe it to everyone to ensure that the City of Chattanooga is regarded as a competitive employer in a high-talent market. To that end, our compensation study will do a few things:  

Develop a compensation system that is easy to understand and administer; 

Ensure that all jobs are classified appropriately and meet FSLA guidelines; 

Ensure that pay rates are competitive and equitably structured; and

Provide us with clear policies and procedures that will keep our compensation system up-to-date.

The goal is to create a fair compensation framework that has clear beginning points, mid-points, and end points for all city employee salaries — and to ensure that all city employees understand this framework. 

The compensation study is not intended to replace conferences between the administration and our public sector unions, nor is it a plan to cut costs, restructure departments, or eliminate positions. This is about doing everything we can to invest in our most valuable resource — our employees — in a way that is equitable and transparent. In early 2020, the City expects to have a final report from our consultants, Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., which we look forward to sharing with our employees. 

A high-performing government has been a priority of this administration since day one, and a strong, dedicated, equitably compensated workforce is critical to achieving that goal.

To find out more about our compensation study, please contact the City of Chattanooga’s Department of Human Resources at webHR@chattanooga.gov.