The Carthage City
Council approved this week a contract between the
City of Carthage and Kaatz & Associates LLC
to conduct a Comprehensive Compensation and
Classification Study for $22,000.
The ordinance in
its initial discussion before the Budget
committee and the first reading before Council
had been subject to some debate. Several Council
members had voiced the opinion that the City
might be better served to conduct the study
in-house and use the $22,000 towards improving
salaries of City staff that were deemed to be
During the second
reading and vote, City Administrator Tom Short
gave a brief synopsis of the scope of the study,
saying that it would analyze more than just the
City employees payscale. The study description
includes; the review and revision of job
descriptions, production of new job descriptions
for all jobs in the City government, a wage and
benefit survey that would compare at least 20
other cities and Jasper County jobs, design of a
compensation plan and estimates for
implementation of the plan, technical assistance
with maintaining job descriptions, and several
other points. Short added that it would benefit
the City employees more equally to use a
non-biased, non-partisan entity to conduct the
study instead of having department heads evaluate
Mike Harris had previously voiced opposition to
hiring a consultant to conduct the study. Harris
said that he felt the entire study was based on
conversations about the City Police and Fire
Departments high turnover rate for
employees. He said that he felt the proposition
of evaluation was larger than it needed to be,
and feared that the Police and Fire Departments
need for payscale improvement might be overlooked
in the large study.
like having a car with a flat tire, and instead
of fixing the tire, we buy a new car," said
Harris added that
if the study was to be conducted he felt strongly
that the comparisons to other cities should also
include a comparison to the County payscales for
law enforcement officials. With that assurance,
Harris said he would not oppose the study.
Mayor Jim Woestman
said that in addition to the 20 cities that would
be used as comparisons, Kaatz & Associates
would also do comparisons against Jasper County
and the city of Joplin.
Claude Newport had also voiced concerns about the
study previously. Newport said that the original
discussions of the study were simply for a
"wage and benefit study," which he felt
could be done in-house. Newport asked if all of
the additional points to the study were
"Do we need
all new job descriptions?" asked Newport.
said that not all of the job descriptions would
be changed, but that some of them were not
Short said that there were new standards and new
descriptions that had been changed since many of
the job descriptions had been originally written,
and that reviewing them all would allow for
future growth. Short added that some of the
people who have been working for the City for a
longer period of time have "topped out"
on the payscales. The study results would be
relevant for approximately 10 years, according to
Council member and
Finance/Personnel Committee member Dianne Sharits
said that she had spoken to many City department
heads and they had said they did not have the
time or expertise required to do the study
themselves. The finance personnel committee
brought the recommendation of the consultant to
Council, and will also be responsible for helping
select the cities included in the comparison.
approving the contract was approved unanimously.
Commission Voices Concern Over Proposed Fireworks
The Jasper County
Commission will discuss the possibility of
writing a letter to the Carthage City Council
concerning the proposed lifting of the current
ban on fireworks in the City according to
Commissioner Jim Honey.
The main concern
was the uncontrolled use of fireworks on the
Square. The County would consider the enactment
of an ordinance of its own to keep fireworks off
the Courthouse lawn, but the simplest method was
thought to be if the grounds were exempted in the
owners questioned by the Mornin Mail
on the Square also expressed concerns about the
fire hazard if bottle rockets landed on the
historic districts buildings.
they thinking?" asked one merchant.
The Carthage R-9
School district has a policy prohibiting
fireworks on school property, but it is unclear
how that policy would be enforced if the rest of
the City was fair game.
The City Council
tabled the ordinance at last Tuesdays
regular meeting and sent the matter back to the
Public Safety Committee with directions to have a
public hearing on the proposal. A date for the
hearing has not been yet established.
ordinance would allow the sale of fireworks in
the City from June 20 through July 10 and between
December 20 and January 2.