Knowledgebase-Johnson City Pay Plan Comparison Research

Information Product

Title:Johnson City Pay Plan Comparison Research
Summary:MTAS was asked about the pay practices of other cities similar in size to Johnson City.
Original Author:Hardy, Pat
Product Create Date:12/03/2014
Last Reviewed on::05/09/2017
Subject:Personnel--Compensation; Personnel--Merit systems; Personnel--Performance appraisal; Fire--Personnel; Police--Personnel
Original Document: Johnson City Pay Plan Comparison Research.pdfJohnson City Pay Plan Comparison Research.pdf

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: Johnson City Pay Plan Comparison Research
(12/2014 by MTAS)

City Manager Pete Peterson asked MTAS about the pay practices of other cities similar in size to Johnson City. Below are the results of this research.

It should be noted, many cities have slight variations in their practices which are not reflected in the answers to the questions below, but are noted, if significant, in the notes following the data. In addition, a number of cities indicated they are looking at implementing changes to their systems. The data below reflect current practices only.

Question 1: Do you use a separate pay plan for your police and fire departments, or are all departments under the same pay plan?

City Population Separate Plan for Police? Separate Plan for Fire?
Bartlett 56,488 Yes Yes
Brentwood 37,060 No No
Bristol 26,702 No No
Cleveland 41,285 No No
Collierville 45,550 Yes Yes
Columbia 34,681 No No
Cookeville 31,154 No Yes
Elizabethton 14,176 Yes Yes
Franklin 66,370 No No
Germantown 40,123 Yes Yes
Hendersonville 51,372 No No
Jackson 65,211 No No
Kingsport 51,274 No No
Morristown 29,137 No Yes
Murfreesboro 109,031 No No
Smyrna 39,974 No No

Notes to this question:
  • Collierville - the separate plan for police and fire applies only to sworn personnel, not to support staff or management.
  • Brentwood - although police and fire are under the same pay plan as all other employees, based on an employee agreement wages are reduced by 3.5% in order to pay for the TCRS enhanced public safety retirement benefit.
In summary the data above shows that 75% of cities do not have a separate pay plan for police employees and 62% do not have a separate plan for fire employees.

Question 2: Do you use a “step plan” (where movement on the plan is generally based on longevity, assuming funds are available) or a “performance-based plan”, where movement on the plan is based on formal, annual employee evaluations (assuming funds are available)?

City Population Use a “step” or “performance-based” plan?
Bartlett 56,488 Step
Brentwood 37,060 Performance*
Bristol 26,702 Step
Cleveland 41,285 Step
Collierville 45,550 Step
Columbia 34,681 Neither*
Cookeville 31,154 Performance
Elizabethton 14,176 Step
Franklin 66,370 Performance
Germantown 40,123 Performance
Hendersonville 51,372 Step
Jackson 65,211 Step
Kingsport 51,274 Step
Morristown 29,137 Step
Murfreesboro 109,031 Step
Smyrna 39,974 Step

Notes to question 2:
  • A number of cities utilize a “step” plan but require satisfactory scores on employee evaluations in order to be eligible for a “step” increase. Brentwood-new public safety employees are part of a 24-month step program. After this period they revert to the same performance-based plan used for all other employees.
  • Columbia-the city does not use either a step or performance-based plan. Instead, all employees have an assigned wage, and if approved by the Council a “cost of living” (COLA) increase is granted and applied to each wage.
  • In summary the data above shows that 69% of cities utilize a “step” plan, 25% utilize a “performance-based” plan and one city uses neither (instead utilizes a “COLA” plan).