Salary discrepancies exist in Eagle County |

Salary discrepancies exist in Eagle County

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Market-driven wage increases have left some longtime county employees making less then recently hired staff, Eagle County officials said.

The county identified the salary compression problem earlier this year and is considering using money from the 2008 and 2009 budgets to adjust the salaries of some employees, Commissioner Sara Fisher said.

“It builds up over time,” Fisher said. “Eventually you have to make some major shifts.”

County Manager Bruce Baumgartner will address the county commissioners on the problem and possible solutions today during a work session.

Fisher said the Health and Human Services department has been hit harder than most by compression.

“The fact that it’s very difficult to find people within public health ” we’re all vying for the same people and you end up with the whole market making an adjustment.”

Health and Human Services Director Suzanne Biermann said the salaries of about 30 percent of the 85 employees in her department need to be adjusted. It’s worth spending the money to keep the more experienced employees, she said.

“I could bring someone in who has 10 years of experience doing their job as a nurse,” she said. “But the quality of experience is more valuable in the county ” they know the people.”

Biermann said the salary discrepancies affect moral and the ability to retain employees.

Part of the problem was created because the county hired some employees at the lower end of their position’s wage range, Fisher said.

“It’s not something that just came up in the last couple months, it’s been something that’s plagued us,” Fisher said. “It’s very hard on moral if new hires are coming in at a higher rate of pay versus someone who brings the experience and knowledge on the local level.”

Fisher said salary compression problems also exist in the information technology department and with some of the road and bridges positions.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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