Cuyahoga County Study Reveals Pay Incongruencies and General Malaise

Detailing employee malaise and off-kilter salary structures, a new report finds that much of the mid- and upper-level administrative framework within Cuyahoga County is still stuck in the pre-reform days. 

“Overwhelmingly, all focus groups view the current system as being unfair and poorly administered,” according to the study, which was carried out and authored by consultant Arthur J. Gallagher at the behest of the county’s Personnel Review Commission (a commission, by the way, that most employees in the focus groups did not even know existed). To wit, examples of supervisors making less money than subordinates abound.

Furthermore: “No formal [c]ompensation strategy or philosophy exists in the [c]ounty, although merit and fitness are referenced in the County Charter and internal documents.”

Recently, the commission hired a “manager of classification and compensation” to help clean up what seems like an internal mess. “Under [the] former Board of County Commissioners, 2001 was the last year performance was aligned with a base pay increase,” the study notes.

Pay structure seems like a fairly basic facet of government (and of any employer?), one that should have easily fallen into place under jubilant cries of “reform” at any point in the last four-plus years. The study was brought about amidst Ed FitzGerald’s administration, thought it remains to be seen what comes of this.

In 2013, three county employees banded together to sue the FitzGerald administration. They claimed that their jobs had been arbitrarily reclassified and their pay had been slashed in a public relations-related move to make it seem like the Old Guard was being removed from county employment. Those employees’ salaries were cut by between 10 and 14 percent.