Consultant’s study estimates wages of county employees are about $2M per year below regional average

A county-hired consultant anticipates a $1.4 million to $2.2 million wage gap for county employees, and county commissioners on Wednesday will be briefed on how those employees might need to be paid more in the future.

McGrath, a human resource group, has put together a draft report that examines how county employee wages compare to average wages for similar jobs in the broader region surrounding Lawrence. The company will go over the final details of that compensation data at the County Commission’s weekly meeting. Commissioners, however, are not being asked to take any action on the wage information.

Rather, the compensation issue likely will be a major topic during the county’s upcoming budget sessions, where commissioners will settle on a spending plan for 2025, and also set property tax rates to support that spending.

The study compares the county’s salary range to salaries paid in the broader market. According to a presentation in the agenda packet, for those in the minimum range of their salary, 54% of people are under the market average. Meanwhile, in the midpoint analysis, 50% are under the market average and 52% are under the market average among those people who are near the top of a position’s pay scale.

McGrath is working on creating an proposed salary and wage scale for the county that would address some of the differences. That new salary and wage scale is likely to need $1.4 to $2.2 million per year in additional county funding in order to be implemented. That proposed wage scale is expected to be completed in late July for commission review.

The County Commission’s business meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Douglas County Public Works training room at 3755 E. 25th St. The meeting will also be available via Zoom.