From: Eckerling, Wayne (Assistant Superintendent for Planning and Research)
Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 11:14 PM
To: Reynolds, Trip; Pettigrew, Andre (Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services); Allen, Richard (Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services); Leslie, John (Assistant Superintendent for Student Services)
Cc: Kane, Robin (Executive Director of Human Resources); Rundstrom, Cindy (Assistant to the Superintendent); Warren, Ray (Director of Human Resources)
Subject: RE: Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) - Feedback
Trip, thanks for your thoughtful response to the classification study. As you know, I am a skeptic too (and about a lot more than an HR classification study). I guess that I don't feel qualified to comment on the detials of your recommendations. Andre and Robin need to address this with you. My belief is that Andre and Robin, as the senior administrators in charge of this effort, have to create a framework where we can make reasonable decisions about classification and to be generally accountable for the quality/usefulness of what our consultants produce and the overall effectiveness of our reclassification effort.
From: Reynolds, Trip
Sent: Mon 11/25/2002 8:49 AM
To: Pettigrew, Andre; Allen, Richard; Eckerling, Wayne; Leslie, John
Cc: Kane, Robin; Rundstrom, Cindy; Warren, Ray
Subject: MSEC - Feedback
Hoping that we might avoid the pitfalls of previous efforts, Andre Pettigréw has directed me to provide constructive feedback and guidance regarding this latest attempt to establish equitable internal and external relationships for all DPS management level positions. I am extremely concerned about the expertise being provided by MSEC.
For a project of this scope, YOU [ALL Assistant Superintendents] should be far more knowledgeable about the specific strategy and methodology the consultant (MSEC) will use to establish equitable internal and external relationships. This is not guesswork and, given the type of methodology used, the consultant should have provided DPS with (1) a fairly accurate projection of the ultimate configuration of positions, and (2) the total cost of implementation. Instead, all we know is what we're paying the consultant [an initial estimate of approximately $27,000] and we remain in the dark about "scope and sequence." This is just not good business.
Hopefully, you should recall that, as currently presented, and with some modification, MSEC appears to be doing essentially the same kind of "market driven" evaluation that Hay Consulting used to define internal and external relationships approximately five (5) years ago. The result: high school and middle principals, and certain non-school based management positions disliked the new salary schedules (which were recommend by Hay and approved by the Board of Education) and the ranges were subsequently revised - twice!
With Hay, and again with MSEC, DPS is "reacting" to the so-called "guidance" from the consultant instead of specifically guiding the consultant to led us to or construct for us a tool [product] that will mirror your requirements. Instead, we are recipients of their "canned" product and sales pitch. The district previously did this with the purchase of Lawson's HRIS product which, despite it's state-of-the-art template, required an increase in staff [Translation: DPS incurred an unbudgeted cost!] and it has not produced any measurable improvement in the performance of HR staff to process personnel actions.
Completely absent from "our" current process to establish equitable internal and external relationships for all DPS management level positions is a Request for Information (RFI) or a Request for Proposal (RFP) that, after consensus by the Compensation Committee, would have:
- clearly outlined and defined the requirements for a management level compensation system at DPS;
- required prospective consultants to provide an actual model of their tool, configured to reflect actual DPS demographics, along with methodology they would use to meet the district's demands; and
- required prospective consultants to provide a client list of employers where the actual product they would install at DPS is currently and successfully being used at another K-12 employer.
Ideally, before buying a car, you at least get a chance to kick the tires and get a test drive. Instead, we have nothing from MSEC. No integration between organizational development and position management. No template linking management hierarchy to staff, or an impact assessment on bargaining groups. No template to equitably link licensed administrator pay to classified administrator pay. Not even a performance bond. Nothing. This is just not good business.
True, as expressed in the Compensation Committee meeting of Friday, November 22, 2002, concerns about the perceived failure of the Department of Human Resources to effectively manage compensation and other HR functions continue, but lets not ignore the fact that:
- academicians, typically DPS principals and teachers who have absolutely no subject matter expertise in human resource administration, for whatever reason, have been reassigned [or dumped] in HR to supposedly manage the district's human resources; and
- the organizational structure of the DPS HR Department was never designed to, and still is not designed to reflect the scope of responsibilities and the operational performance of our private sector counterparts [i.e., ratio of HR staff to employees, the existence of HR managers that do not supervise subordinate supervisors, no compensation manager, no system-wide PFP program, etc.].
The result? Academicians and not subject matter HR pros have historically been in charge of negotiations with bargaining groups [unlike our peer school districts that usually have one to three, DPS evolved to nine employee groups and will eventually have ten], employee relations [it varies between bargaining groups which requires greater administration], creation of salary schedules [we have over 300 which extrapolate to nearly 1,000 or more!], the failure to create position classifications for all jobs [DPS has never been in compliance with the ADA], and the failure to introduce contemporary HR practices, including technology, into all HR activities. It makes about as much sense for me to be a Director of Literacy as it does for a high school principal to manage human resources but this has, unfortunately, been the practice at DPS. If there truly is a desire to "manage" human resources, then let's begin by doing exactly that, and "manage" this effort to establish equitable internal and external relationships for all DPS management level positions as a subject matter expert in HR actually would. This would be good business!
Position management [the planned management and configuration of essential functions through position hierarchy] at public sector employers cannot be the same as our private sector counterparts. Because, in addition to performing many comparable essential functions, public sector employers always have certain legal, legislative or court ordered requirements to provide services without regard to an ability to pay staff competitively. Consequently, it is typical for public sector employers to routinely create single incumbent positions, which do NOT have benchmarks in the market, and to converge similar and dissimilar positions, which also do not have benchmarks in the market. Student Services, Department of Technology Services (DoTs) and English Language Acquisition (ELA) are prime examples of this fact. Our consultant continues to focus on using some, as yet not established or validated, "benchmarks" driven by an external market(s) in combination with "this and that" scenarios to define relationships between DPS management level positions. Can you explain to YOUR STAFF exactly what MSEC is going to do to their positions? If you can't, then why are you pursuing this effort? And what are we paying for? This is just not good business!
What is the single most important test to validate a job evaluation system? Without regard to the methodology [ranking, slotting, factor, point-factor, Hay, decision band, broad band, etc.], YOU should be able, at any time, to question and confirm the objectively defined "value" of not only your reports, but ALL of the reports of your peer assistant superintendents. This is how organizations ensure validity to internal and external measures. YOU should be able to tangibly examine the specific, individual elements that resulted in an increase, decrease or no changes to the levels, grading and compensation of all management level positions.
Professionally, I'm not particularly biased toward one job evaluation methodology over another. However, based on my twenty-five (25) years of experience being immediately responsible for managing and implementing the most critical element in change management - the design, management and installation of job evaluation systems [in both public and private sector environments, profit and non-profit, in employee populations ranging from 50 to 60,000], I believe a point-factor system is the best method to equitably respond to the district's satellites of power [each Assistant Superintendent]. Consider the following evaluation matrix where "F" represents an evaluation factor such as impact on policy (and authority), consequences of decisions (and complexity), level of management, staff supervised, direct financial responsibility, external communications, internal communications, experience, and education:
Total FI F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9
Assistant Superintendent Administrative Services
1005 140 140 120 115 120 120 110 90 60
Executive Director of Human Resources
849 80 120 120 85 74 120 100 90 60
Director, Human Resources
583 20 100 70 70 63 80 70 70 40
544 50 60 20 40 74 120 70 70 40
511 50 60 20 40 41 120 70 70 40
500 50 60 20 40 30 120 70 70 40
With this job evaluation approach position hierarchy is linked vertically and horizontally and YOU would have the immediate ability to:
- monitor the evolution of all management level positions;
- verify the relative value of positions that report to you; and
- verify the relative value of positions that report to other assistant superintendents.
There should be no cloak and dagger mystery surrounding the internal value of positions and, again, as the only urban K-12 school district in metro Denver, the greater emphasis should be placed on internal values than external. Then, with the determination of internal values, robust* salary ranges should be designed to effectively capture the value of designated benchmark positions in the market.
Management Grade Minimum Maximum % Range
981 and over
1 103,075 150,000 45.53 2 95,000 117,800 24.00 3 80,121 99,349 24.00 4 74,914 92,893 24.00 5 70,046 86,857 24.00 6 65,494 81,212 24.00 7 60,876 75,486 24.00 8 56,920 70,581 24.00 9 46,494 60,062 29.18
1 171,852 250,096 45.53 2 120,589 150,000 45.54 3 103,075 150,000 45.53 4 95,000 117,800 25.00
* The above schedule is based on current salary practices and, therefore,
is not a robust salary schedule.
As I initially proposed in June 2002, management grades 2 through 8 above share a narrow (minimum to maximum) range spread of only 24%. Five years ago, when directed to create a salary schedule based on Hay's market data, I initially designed (several) robust salary structures (some with steps, some with open ranges) that featured a 35% to a 60% spread. Unfortunately, despite informing (educating) the Chief Personnel Officer, who was not a subject matter expert in compensation, of the value of robust salary ranges [60% spread] I was directed to reduce the ranges to 30%, which was later reduced to the current range spread of only 24% for administrative and managerial positions, and 29% to 37% for supervisory positions. Clearly, MSEC's suggestion to expand salary ranges for the district's management level positions is not new and, despite my recommendations, the district's HR department has not been empowered to lead compensation. Without regard to the spread of the salary ranges, we cannot overlook the district's ability to pay and, again, MSEC's failure to provide YOU with a model is not good business!
Additionally, as proposed above, DPS should establish a higher-level compensation structure for senior executive positions, because the absence of this structure acts to compress salaries of non-executive management level positions. There should be criteria, a method to equitably determine what defines a position as "executive" and, even though DPS historically pays most senior level positions the exact same salary, we should have a salary structure that recognizes executive level positions do NOT share the same value in the market.
The principle consultant's blatantly negative statement about point-factor job evaluation systems goes more to demonstrate being secluded within narrowly defined private sector organizational structures than a diverse, hands-on experience evaluating positions in extremely dynamic and diverse private and public sector environments. Notably, contrary to the principle consultant's comments, with the existence of objective measures that can be validated, rater bias does not occur in point-factor job evaluation systems - because the accuracy of the evaluation is actual proof, and not the influence of internal politics or the arbitrary shifting of values to influence the worth of positions. Additionally, there's a another reason, a bigger reason for the consultant to steer DPS away from point-factor plans - it would require them to do more work! Look, I know all the tricks, and it's much easier and faster to slap together some salary data and draw some benchmark comparisons than to document and produce an equitably engineered job evaluation plan. You know the old adage, "YOU get what you pay for."
Notably, internal politics can skew any job evaluation system because in the final analysis, position hierarchy is subordinate to organizational dynamics. Yet, the greatest value of a point-factor system is that YOU will be able to accurately pinpoint the specific, individual elements that resulted in an increase, decrease or no changes in the levels, grading and compensation of all management level positions. Why is the consultant shoving down our throat a clearly ambiguous methodology cloaked in mystery with the slick polish and vernacular of the "good ole boy" network? Again, position management at public sector employers cannot be the same as our private sector counterparts.
Most importantly, please keep the following fact in mind: DPS already uses data from MSEC (plus Oehms and some Internet based sources) to establish salary ranges for ALL management level positions! It is very unlikely that position values will change as a result of external measures. Reducing or adding salary grades, or expanding salary ranges does not change the value of positions in the market. However, it does give consultants something to do. Again, the critical issue remains the internal relationship of positions, which, despite the lip service, MSEC has not addressed.
1. Do "this" right or don't do it; or
2. If you elect to continue this effort with MSEC, direct them to immediately provide:
- an actual model of their tool, configured to reflect actual DPS demographics, along with methodology they would use to meet the district's demands; and if they don't have a "tool," then require them to provide YOU with a document that "procedurally" outlines exactly how they propose to use demographic information on DPS employees;
- a detail plan for linking management hierarchy to staff, and to equitably link licensed administrator pay to classified administrator pay.
- a written assessment and plan for how they will address executive level compensation;
- provide a client list of employers where the actual product they would install at DPS is currently and successfully being used at another K-12 employer; or
3. Direct MSEC to assist the HR Department with the implementation of a point-factor job evaluation system as profiled above.
Again, can you explain to YOUR STAFF exactly what MSEC is going to do to their positions? Will you be able to measure, at any time, the "value" of not only your reports, but the value of ALL management level positions? Do YOU yet have a clear understanding of the district's compensation philosophy? If you can't answer these questions now, is it "good business" to engage consultants who are not empowering you to manage the compensation of YOUR positions?
Finally, if you are uncertain about my role in this process, I'm the person who typically does the "clean-up" and "corrections" in the wake of consultants like Bachman, Hay, and MSEC. Ultimately, and most respectfully, while you are not subject matter experts in compensation, I am. Please give careful consideration to the aforementioned observations and recommendations.
Have a great day!