Higher pay OK’d to attract applicants

THURSDAY, FEB. 28, 2008

Spokane Valley will have to pay more if it wants a personnel manager, the City Council decided Tuesday.

Council members agreed unanimously, with Steve Taylor absent, to bump up their offer by two pay grades, from a range of $55,200 to $70,800 to a range of $68,400 to $87,684 a year.

Deputy City Manager Mike Jackson said the city had been unable to hire anyone in two recruiting drives since December.

“Obviously, the marketplace indicates that what we have been offering is not attractive,” Councilman Dick Denenny conceded.

Mayor Rich Munson said one “highly qualified” candidate said he turned down the job because “we simply weren’t paying enough money.”

Deputy City Clerk Carrie Acosta has been handling the city’s personnel management duties since human resources analyst Trish Burns-Hart passed the bar examination and resigned late last year to become a lawyer.

The position was upgraded from analyst to manager at that time.

Munson said in an interview that Acosta has been handling the duties well, “but with 91 employees, it’s a full-time job. The rules are very exact.”

Jackson said his recommendation to boost the personnel manager’s pay from Grade 16 to Grade 18 was based on a survey that showed a range of $76,860 to $97,248 a year in Spokane, Spokane County, Yakima, Olympia, Kennewick, Richland and Vancouver, Wash.

In other business Tuesday, the council gave second reading to an ordinance that would allow soundproof doggie day cares and indoor kennels in neighborhood commercial, community commercial, regional commercial and corridor mixed use zones.

Community Development Director Kathy McClung said the Planning Commission endorsed the change as consistent with the intent of the city zoning code.

The change was requested by Lonny and Jeanne Kelp, who want to open a “doggy day care and pet hotel” in a commercial mixed-use zone.

Despite the requirement for soundproofing, some council members worried about the potential for dogs to bark if left alone. Lonnie Kelp said his business would have an attendant on duty at all hours to ensure the animals’ safety in the event of an emergency.

Still, council members directed the city staff to look into the advisability of requiring round-the-clock attendants at veterinary clinics as well as boarding kennels.

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