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2005/2006 MTAS Salary and Fringe Benefit Survey

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Reviewed Date: April 27, 2006

Original Author: 
Stokes, Richard
Date of Material: 
Apr 27, 2006

Personnel--Fringe benefits
Municipal government--Administration
Municipal government--Organization

2005/2006 MTAS Salary and Fringe Benefit Survey

The MTAS annual salary and fringe benefit survey for 2005/2006 shows salary increases for city employees rose significantly over 2004/2005 data. This report contains a summary of the findings as well as a means to request specific information. (To request a report from the salary survey, please contact MTAS at the address at the bottom of this page.)

The 2005/2006 MTAS Salary and Fringe Benefit Survey
Richard L. Stokes, PHR, IPMA-CP, Municipal Human Resources Consultant

The MTAS annual salary and fringe benefit survey for 2005/2006 is complete and shows that salary increases for city employees rose significantly over 2004/2005 data. This report contains a summary of the findings as well as a means to request specific information. Included are request forms you can send to MTAS for the specific salary and benefit information you need.

Salary information for the 2005/2006 survey was gathered in five categories: (1) number of employees, (2) hours worked, (3) minimum salary, (4) maximum salary, and (5) FLSA status. In some instances, an employee may have held more than one position such as a clerk-typist who also serves as a secretary. For these cases, respondents were asked to report the salary for the position in which the employee spends more than 50 percent of his or her time.

Some positions did not apply to some cities. If that was the case, respondents were asked to leave the category blank. A copy of the job descriptions used in the questionnaire accompanies this report and will be included with each request for salary and benefit information.

The Survey Results

Based on data submitted, salary changes in the 2005/2006 fiscal year for employees of Tennessee cities and towns were significantly less than the general rate of inflation. A number of factors, including adjustments in compensation plans, salary adjustments, and elimination and addition of positions, could have affected the integrity of the information. Another factor affecting the data could be the result of corrections made to previously reported misleading information or incorrect assumptions made during data entry. Additionally, Memphis, the largest city in the state, did not participated in this year’s survey, and results of the city of Knoxville’s broadband plan continue to significantly increase the salary ranges for positions in similar sized cities.

Calculations in the survey are the result of comparing average minimum and maximum salaries from one year to the next. The extent of change from one year to another was then determined and reported by position, by class and by total salary ranges.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services, covers about 80 percent of the total population. The CPI-U for all urban consumers grew by 3.7 percent for cities in the South, while salaries of Tennessee cities grew by only 2.86 percent. On the national level, the CPI-U showed the average rate of inflation of 3.4 percent. (Summary Data for the Consumer Price Index News Release, December 2005.) What this means to Tennessee cities is that during the past year, salaries were increased at a rate that was less than expenditures on the national level for goods and services.

The average minimum salary for all positions in 2004/2005 was $30,174.72. The average minimum salary changed in 2005/2006 by 2.39 percent (from $30,174.72 to $30,897.05). The average maximum salary for all positions in 2004/2005 was $38,337.87. The average maximum salary change from 2004/2005 to 2005/2006 was 3.32 percent (from $38,337.87 to $ 39,611.60).

Average Statewide Salary Ranges by Position

ACCOUNTANT $27,595.83 $40,234.31
ACCOUNTING CLERK $21,864.36 $28,343.88
ADMIN ASST $30,400.97 $37,072.65
ADMIN SECRETARY $25,567.81 $33,465.77
ALDERMAN $2,182.29 $2,305.19
ANIMAL CTRL OFF $22,421.82 $28,266.27
ASST CITY MGR $65,191.36 $83,745.99
ASST FIRE CHIEF $33,226.05 $44,732.68
ASST POLICE CHIEF $40,149.17 $52,302.31
BLDG ENGINEER $24,182.97 $33,996.05
BLGD INSPECTOR $27,536.77 $34,990.22
BOOKKEEPER $25,474.22 $31,798.18
CHIEF MECHANIC $31,894.94 $40,873.12
CITY ATTORNEY $20,581.97 $28,648.55
CITY CLERK $27,987.93 $34,184.74
CITY ENGINEER $56,232.15 $77,610.37
CITY MANAGER $65,119.05 $70,698.26
CITY PLANNER $46,143.53 $63,247.73
CITY RECORDER $29,262.48 $33,130.82
CLERK-TYPIST $19,679.53 $26,002.57
COURT CLERK $23,035.11 $28,638.06
DETECTIVE $32,625.50 $39,567.06
DIR OF GOLF $40,093.61 $50,262.33
DIR PUB SAFETY $24,675.00 $35,915.50
DISPATCHER $24,576.19 $31,612.26
ELEC SERVICEMAN $40,060.75 $56,917.00
ELEC SVC FOREMAN $26,696.28 $36,154.60
EXEC SECRETARY $28,638.15 $39,951.76
FINANCE DIRECTOR $59,731.72 $79,097.72
FIRE CAPTAIN $35,071.06 $45,042.86
FIRE CHIEF $34,115.44 $43,062.83
FIRE DRIVER $31,442.84 $40,123.79
FIRE FIGHTER $24,465.23 $32,086.18
FIRE LIEUTENANT $32,187.79 $41,181.75
FIRE MARSHALL $41,274.82 $54,627.13
GAS FOREMAN $33,789.39 $38,212.92
GAS SERVICEMAN $24,690.14 $30,555.43
HEAD LIBRARIAN $27,679.27 $35,007.67
HVY EQUIP OPER $25,379.78 $33,080.22
IS DIRECTOR $55,130.94 $76,946.93
JUDGE $9,672.73 $10,436.81
LGT EQUIP OPER $21,969.03 $29,412.27
MAYOR $11,548.95 $11,674.78
MECHANIC $26,002.77 $34,598.32
METER READER $20,997.68 $26,442.98
PARKS DIRECTOR $40,483.68 $51,720.85
PERSONNEL DIR $52,770.76 $70,125.30
POLICE CAPTAIN $41,413.84 $51,377.73
POLICE CHIEF $42,052.15 $49,485.01
POLICE LIEUT $35,733.97 $43,420.20
POLICE OFFICER $24,952.16 $30,523.76
POLICE SERGEANT $31,602.85 $37,393.78
PUB INFO OFF $42,126.83 $59,193.41
PUB WORKS DIR $44,908.87 $55,102.42
PURCHASING AGENT $40,023.63 $54,749.11
REFUSE FOREMAN $30,429.89 $39,518.81
REFUSE WORKER $18,830.64 $23,771.28
RISK MANAGER $46,392.01 $65,213.07
SECRETARY I $21,381.62 $27,058.55
STREET FOREMAN $30,249.08 $37,464.71
STREET WORKER $19,140.13 $24,521.65
UTILITY DISTR SUPER $42,067.40 $53,373.34
UTILITY MANAGER $44,658.27 $55,326.53
UTILITY WORKER $20,768.13 $26,823.20
VICE MAYOR $2,502.10 $2,554.32
W/WW LAB TECH $28,327.10 $38,017.18
W/WW PLANT MGR $35,547.86 $44,544.41
WATER OPER II $23,450.84 $29,352.97
WATER OPER III $25,536.98 $31,015.38
WATER OPER IV $30,207.25 $38,034.41
WWATER OPER II $23,258.31 $29,267.96
WWATER OPER III $25,981.43 $33,673.37
WWATER OPER IV $30,215.27 $36,561.18
STATEWIDE AVERAGE $31,177.41 $39,611.60

Changes in salary ranges by grand division showed East Tennessee cities outpacing West and Middle Tennessee. East Tennessee reported salary increases of 7.51 percent, compared to 3.92 percent in Middle Tennessee and 0.89 percent in West Tennessee.

Among individual positions, several positions had significant average decreases over 2004/2005 data. Director of public safety again had the highest average decrease of 25.95 percent. Director of golf followed closely with a decrease of 20.07 percent. Fire chief reflected a 6.91 percent decrease. Court clerk showed a 5.26 percent decrease. City manager showed a 2.01 percent decrease, and city engineer had a 1.56 percent decrease. Significant decreases were also reported for accounting clerk (1.48 percent), bookkeeper (1.28 percent), wastewater operator IV (1.10 percent), electric service foreman (1.07 percent), and assistant fire chief (0.07 percent).

The largest salary increase reported was for vice mayor. Cities reported an increase of about 13.89 percent (statewide average minimum salary changed from $2,215.51 to $2,502.10. The statewide average maximum salary changed from $2,224.25 to $2,554.32). Increases in statewide average salaries were also reported for water Operator II (11.26 percent), alderman (10.58 percent), mayor (10.20 percent), utility manager (9.56 percent), meter reader (9.18 percent), water/wastewater plant operator (9.11 percent), accountant (9.09 percent), administrative assistant (8.82 percent), and city clerk (8.00 percent).

The Salary Information

For regular users of our survey information, this document will look familiar. It's our attempt to announce the availability of salary survey reports and to get the most basic information into the hands of Tennessee city officials in a faster, more economical manner. Data from the survey is entered into a database (MICROSOFT Access 2000), and reports can be generated in the same format as in previous years.

MTAS received responses this year from 186 of the 347 Tennessee cities. This represents 54 percent of the total number of Tennessee cities. Of the total number of cities, 161, or 46 percent, did not respond to the survey.

Benefit Information

MTAS also gathered extensive data on benefits of Tennessee municipal workers. A check mark or a number was all that was required to complete most of the benefit questions. However, space was provided for additional comments.

Available by request is information on work week hours, breaks, probationary periods, hours required for full benefits, longevity pay, cost-of-living increases, uniforms, moonlighting policies, health and dental insurance and deductibles, disability, holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal time, retirement, tuition reimbursement, drug testing, workers' compensation, credit unions, child care assistance, deferred compensation, parking, and much, much more.

Summary benefit data suggest that the average total number of full-time employees is 136. The minimum number of full-time employees is zero, while the maximum total number of full-time employees is 9,293. The average number of total part-time employees is 20.2. The minimum number of part-time employees is zero, while the maximum number of part-time employees is 1,140. The average personnel cost is $2,848,237.05. The minimum personnel cost is $0, while the maximum reported personnel cost is $52,084,600.00.

Two hundred fifty-three cities have reported that they have developed personnel policies, up from 252 last year (based on current and last year’s data), while 94 indicate that they either do not have personnel policies or did not respond to the question. Two hundred thirty-five cities indicated that they provide a paid lunch break, while the remaining either did not respond or indicated that they do not provide paid lunch periods. The majority (99) provide at least a one-hour lunch break, while 136 provide 30 minutes. Forty-four cities indicated some variation in the amount of time they provide for lunch (3= 30 to 60 minutes; 33= 30 minutes to 60 minutes) depending on departments.

With regard to holidays, 106 cities indicated that they did not provide holiday pay. Two cities indicated that they provide one holiday, four cities provide five holidays, 14 cities provide six holidays, 10 cities provide seven holidays,(22 cities provide eight holidays, 44 cities provide nine holidays, 46 cities provide 10 holidays, and 89 provide more than 10 holidays per year. The average number of sick leave days provided is 11.6. The minimum number is zero, while the maximum number is 120.

How to Get More Information

To understand the process of requesting additional salary or benefit information, you may need to understand a little about how the survey database is constructed. This will help you understand the constraints imposed on MTAS by the software used.

We are capable of generating salary information based on populations. Population statistics used in the survey were obtained from the Directory of Tennessee Municipal Officials.

The groupings are
Group 1—populations of more than 100,000;
Group 2—populations between 15,000 and 99,999;
Group 3—populations between 8,000 and 14,999;
Group 4—populations between 4,000 and 7,999;
Group 5—populations between 2,000 and 3,999; and
Group 6—populations of fewer than 2,000.

The database is divided into sections called tables. Each table is associated with a particular section (topic) of the questionnaire that cities completed and returned. There is a general table that contains statistical information about every city in the state. Included in this table is information about population, grand division, county, contact person and telephone number, and the MTAS municipal management consultant serving the city. This table is what allows the computer to generate reports.

Two tables are associated with the salary questionnaire. A title table contains a listing of the 65 benchmark positions (the listing appears on your request form). The salary table includes salary information for all positions in each of the seven job categories: (1) elective, (2) administrative, (3) professional, (4) clerical, (5) technical, (6) public safety, and (7) labor and trade.

The remaining tables are associated with the benefits portion of the questionnaire. The tables are (1) staffing information, (2) hours, (3) salary payment policies, (4) employee insurance, (5) holidays, (6) leave, (7) other leave, (8) retirement benefits, and (9) other benefits. Some information on part-time employees is also available.

Individual reports may be tailored and generated exclusively for a requesting city. This gives you more control over what information you receive and how that information is presented to you. Examples of acceptable database requests are

· City manager salary data for cities with populations between 15,000 and 25,000 in West Tennessee;
· All clerical salaries in population group 4;
· Police chief salaries for Maryville, Hendersonville, Jackson, and Clarksville; and
· Cities that pay less than 75 percent of their employees' insurance premium.

Salary data is also available by geographical and statewide averages, by counties, and by selected cities.

Use the forms provided on Pages 6 and 7 to prepare your information request(s). You may duplicate the forms as often as necessary. You may request as many reports as you need. All requests will be processed as they are received.

Please send all data request forms to

Salary Survey Request
The University of Tennessee
Municipal Technical Advisory Service
120 Conference Center Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4105


About Our Knowledgebase

Information written by MTAS staff was based on the law at the time and/or a specific sets of facts. The laws referenced may have changed and/or the technical advice provided may not be applicable to your city or circumstances. Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information posted to this website.