Salary Survey: PC Police Underpaid by Market Average - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Salary Survey Reveals Police Underpaid According to Market Average

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The city of Panama City has not conducted a pay survey since 2006. Employees have seen just one raise in pay in the last five years. The last increase was in 2011 when employees saw a 2% increase across the board.

Typically, a survey is done within any organization to look at external and internal parody. Externally; where an employer ranks in the market and whether they fall under the minimum or maximum pay range. Internally an employer must, by law, provide equity in their pay. Similar positions must make similar wages. So far, there has been immediate action taken by the city as far as internal equity within departments as a result of the survey. In the survey done by Evergreen Solutions, Panama City is compared to 46 similar entities in terms of salary and pay structure.

"The study that we did showed there were we had a couple of places where we needed to reclassify some positions," said Pilcher.

By law, an employer needs to provide internal equity to their employees. Meaning, similar job titles must make similar wages. Externally, it is the choice of the organization to provide market equity.

"Whether you want to lead in the market, whether you want to lag in the market, or whether you want to hit somewhere in the middle," said Pilcher. "Every organization has their theory about that."

According to the survey Panama City is lagging badly in two departments: police and fire.

"I know right now we are reaching the place in police where our police officers have a little over a four year average tenure," said Pilcher. "At some point that becomes a public safety issue."

Across the board Panama City Police Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants range heavily below the markets total average.  At market minimum all positions are more than 40% below average salary range. Doing the math, a Captain with Panama City makes a little more than half of the minimum salary of others surveyed.

"Where you find that you have a higher rate of turnover in your organization in certain positions you do want to look inside and say what are we doing, how are we doing it, how's our leadership over there, how are we promoting, how are we paying," said Pilcher. "And that is all a part of it.

"Compensation is all a part of it and you can do something about turnover."

However, any changes to next years budget, as far as raising salaries, has not been made as a result of this study.

"That is all part of a proposed budget," said Kim Pilcher, the Director of Human Resources and Safety for Panama City. "This year it's not in the budget.

"So the commissioners, if they can find money and help us make more money, at that point would be able to authorize some sort of increase."

"Of course the recommendations of city staff and the city manager and our HR director will come heaviest into play with the decisions we choose to make moving forward," said Commissioner John Kady.  

The salary survey completed by Evergreen Solutions out of Tallahassee cost $25,000.