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City of Calistoga evaluates employee salaries and compensation

  • Updated

In its ongoing efforts to stay competitive when it comes to salaries and compensation for city employees, the Calistoga City Council has been evaluating a new study examining where it stands in relation to other municipalities.

The goal is to stay competitive while ensuring the plan is fiscally responsible for the city with regards to recruitment and retention of qualified staff.

The recent study compares salary compensation in cities across Napa and Sonoma counties, and takes into account numerous factors including the labor market, cost of living, housing costs, and geographic location.

The study found that 19 city jobs were below the market median and 12 were above. However, overall, the city’s employees are currently paid on average about 9% higher in total compensation, which puts the city in a more competitive position. The study is also used as a tool to negotiate with labor groups.

The city’s administrative services director’s total compensation is the highest in percentage comparison at almost 20% above the median, followed by the planning and building, parks and recreation and public works directors. The fire chief’s total compensation is 13% above the market median, and the police chief’s by about 8%.

Although several monthly compensations fall below the median, including firefighter, there are no positions according to the data that fall below the market median in overall compensation.

About 5% over market median is considered competitive, authors of the study said. The city has several options including reducing salaries down to market, but from an employee relations perspective that may not be viable, the study indicated. Rather, the city might look at adjusting the contribution to health insurance, while looking at other factors including inflation.

Calistoga's Water Conservation Technician Mitchell Egert shares valuable water- saving advice.

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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