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Consultant may examine Eagle County wages

Chris Outcalt
coutcalt@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The Board of County Commissioners in Eagle County, Colorado want to hire a consultant to study the county’s wage problem and search for a new human resources director and county manager.

The board will review a contract for consulting services with Avon-based Smith Advisors today during its regular meeting. If the contract is approved as drafted, the county will pay the company a minimum of $39,000 and a maximum of $50,000 for the first phase of a three-phase agreement.



A group made up of county employees recently identified a wage problem among county staff. Market-driven wage increases have left some longtime county employees making less then recently hired staff, officials said.

The committee suggested it would take $2 million to fix the problem.



Phase one of the agreement would include assessing and recommending a solution to the problem. Phases two and three would involve implementing the recommendations and monitoring how they work.

Commissioner Sara Fisher said the board felt like it needed an outside opinion before making a decision on what to do.

“It’s helpful to sometimes have the dialogue with someone who doesn’t know all the players,” Fisher said. “Because the numbers were so significant, we want to make absolutely sure that whatever decisions we make are the right ones.”



The county would pay a separate fee of $250 per hour for the company to search for a human resources director and county manager, if the agreement is approved.

Rick Smith, president of Smith Advisors, said he would spend hours interviewing county staff for both tasks.

“The first thing I would do is really try an understand what the commissioners are looking for in terms of background experience and specific skill sets,” Smith said. “Some organizations look at it and say ‘we just want a leader.'”

Smith said the problem the county has identified as compression isn’t unusual.

“If that’s the case, it’s not at all uncommon,” he said. “That’s typical of what happens across the country.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.


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