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Special Salary Adjustment Application Deadline is June 11,2021

Special Salary Adjustment (SSA) is a unique process whereby MEA, on behalf of members, can present relevant data and information to the Civil Service Commission to support the need for increasing the salary of a particular classification or series.

The justification for an SSA is extremely narrow, and the relevant information needed is often anecdotal or directly pulled from employee observations and knowledge of both their Department and their classification throughout the City. Because neither employees or MEA have direct access to all the relevant information that the Personnel Department possesses, the SSA process is the opportunity to bring forward what is seen and felt in the workplace to the Civil Service Commission to express the need to study the classification for the specific purpose of recommending the classification series for an SSA.

The Personnel Department examines every SSA that is brought forward each year and determines whether that classification will or will not be studied. After they have determined which classifications will be studied, a team from the Personnel Department will come and analyze the classification, the work the classification is doing, and the retention or turnover numbers for that classification to determine the need for the SSA.

The criteria used by the Personnel Department to determine whether an SSA is appropriate is as follows:

Significant Change in Duties and Responsibilities: This is extremely broad, and rarely is an SSA approved under this basis for adjustment. A change in technology, or increased workload is not a basis for an SSA. Some items that would qualify under this header would be a classification supervising (responsible for the EPR and day-to-day functions) subordinates where before the classification was not a supervisory one, or some other large significant change that consumes a significant portion of your day (30%+ for example).

Inappropriate Supervisory Differential: If you supervise a classification that makes more than you per hour that may be an inappropriate supervisory differential. Also, if the differential between you and your highest-level subordinate is significantly less than 5%, that may be an inappropriate supervisory differential. This is only determined by base compensation. For the SSA process, the Supervisory Differential issue is not based on add-on or certification pays.

Turnover: The Personnel Department for SSAs does not consider attrition. Turnover is extremely narrow and defined as having a higher average turnover in 3 out of the last 5 years than the City average. For example, if the City “average turnover” the last 5 years is 1.5% the turnover for your classification must be a higher average (1.6%+) over that same 5 years, AND 3 of those years must be higher than the City’s total average each year. The most relevant information for the Personnel Department is whether employees have left the City, for more money, to another municipality, and either the employee or Management have marked those reasons on the employee’s exit form.

Recruiting Problems: Recruiting problems are specific to the number of qualified individuals that put forward applications for the position that is open. It is not based on whether the applicants are considered “Highly Qualified” “Qualified” or “Minimally Qualified” during the interview process. If the open hiring is not getting enough applicants who meet the minimum qualifications of the position, then it is a Recruiting Problem.

New Classification: This request is made when the current classification structure does not appropriately capture the nature and type of work that is being done by a particular group. The intent is to create a new classification series for this specific work. (Note: There are many unintended consequences when creating a new classification and those will be discussed with you before moving forward.)

Title Change: This request is made when there is not an issue of pay, but that the classification title is not appropriate to the work being done. For example, being a “Fire Dispatcher” instead of a “Police Dispatcher” would be an appropriate request to change a title.

The City Charter provides that only labor organizations or departments may bring forward requests for SSAs, new classes and title changes to the Civil Service Commission. Individual employee submissions to the Civil Service Commission are not allowed – employees must work through their labor organization on behalf of their entire classification and/or series. MEA can bring forward requests for SSAs as described in the City Charter on behalf of any member.

If you believe that your classification has a meritorious case to be made to the Commission, here are your next steps:

Review the attached Salary Proposal Request Form and the detailed explanation of what needs to be included in each request.

If your classification series is due for an SSA increase on either January 1, 2022 or January 1,2023 the Personnel Department will not study your classification for an SSA until all percentage increases have gone into effect.

Reach out to colleagues in your classification and form a team to help with the work that is involved. As the subject matter experts regarding your job, the efforts of you and your colleagues can make the difference between the classification being studied or not. Remember the biggest and most important step in the SSA process is getting the classification studied!

Compile the needed information, complete the SSA request form and return it to MEA on or before Tuesday, June 11, 2021Completed request packages should be emailed to Nick Wright nwright@sdmea.org. You can also call Nick at 619-264-6632 x118 if you have any questions or need more information about the process. MEA will only review SSA request packages received by June 11, 2020 and assign an Officer to work with each group in advance of MEA’s submission to the Personnel Department.

You must be willing and able to attend all SSA meetings including presenting your SSA to the Civil Service Commission if necessary. Examples of successful and unsuccessful proposals are included in this E-blast to underscore the amount of work that is needed for a proposal. MEA will provide assistance and guidance to each employee group, but the responsibility to take the lead in doing research, gathering information, and writing the proposal specific to your classification is yours!

Please review the attached materials to consider moving forward with this process.

We look forward to working with you!

Management Analyst SSA 2019

Librarians SSA 2018

Storm Water Inspectors SSA 2020

Fire Dispatchers SSA 2019

SSA Submittal Forms