As Joplin City Council met for their first meeting of the year, they passed a new compensation philosophy for city positions. With this passage—seven in favor and two opposed—it allows the City of Joplin to adopt the compensation plan as a guideline that affects compensation matters of city employees.
This compensation philosophy is described as a way to aid in “improving and maintaining overall market compensation.” This compensation philosophy comes in addition to the compensation study that was conducted in fall 2020, which resulted in a nine percent adjustment to the overall Salary Administration Plan.
“I feel good for the organization because I like the idea of telling the employees how we’re going to approach staying competitive, and I think our employees deserve to know, number one that we have and plan, and number two what that plan is,” said Ryan Stanley, Joplin mayor. “And so, I’m glad that we’re entertaining it. I think that for years we talked about ‘how do we approach this,’ and it becomes this things that we just never really go through the process of just making sure we stay competitive. So, I’m excited for what it could bring.”
There are three main components regarding the compensation philosophy, which include: movement through each pay grade within the Salary Administration Plan; maintenance of the overall Salary Administration Plan; and placement of positions within the Salary Administration Plan. Stanley clarified that no changes are made to compensation yet with the passing of the compensation philosophy, instead that it is “setting the stage” and acting as a “framework” in how compensation will “stay competitive.”
Council passed on an emergency basis an ordinance that allows for the purchase of a second tablet drone controller for Joplin Police Department (JPD). JDP currently has 10 licensed drone operators. The ordinance passed with nine in favor.
Ryan Talken, Joplin Health Department director, discussed a COVID-19 update for the City of Joplin following the winter holidays. Talken reported that numbers have gone up and Joplin sees approximately 43 cases per day. Currently there are 93 deaths in Joplin and 90 hospitalizations. He said that the number of hospitalizations in the city have gone up and down, but that they have been “elevated” since October. He said they will keep an eye on the numbers in the following weeks, coming out of the Christmas holiday.
Talken also discussed the COVID-19 vaccine’s presence in Joplin and how it is implemented. He explained that the vaccine is controlled by the federal level, and is then “pushed down” to the state level. At that point, the state then decides who gets the vaccine. Talken said the Joplin Health Department has yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccines, though they have gone through the steps and been approved for the vaccine. Talken said this is due to the amount of vaccines available at this time. Currently, Joplin is in phase 1A, during which the vaccine is available to those in healthcare facilities. The next phase will be 1B, which will include high risk individuals age 18 and older, first responders, and essential workers.
Additionally, council passed two bills under public hearing to advance from first reading to second and third. One additional resolution was passed for adoption, and one ordinance under first reading passed—both with unanimous votes.
City of Joplin Public Information Officer Lynn Onstot presented city news. In this news included that Joplin residents may use the tree drop-off site January 7, 8, & 9; this is a free drop-off service to only Joplin residents. Republic Services also will allow residents to put bundled tree limbs out for pickup on curbside, with certain parameters. The city is continuing their residential leaf pickup, which currently Parks 3 Area (P3) and should move to P4 this week. Onstot also stated that applications are available now for those interested in applying for a Parks and Recreation summer position, which can be found on their website.
As the City of Joplin, along with Joplin City Council, heads into the new year, Stanley said the council is starting off on a positive note as they work to meet their new year resolutions this year.
“Well, I feel really good with the city council entering into the new year,” Stanley said. “We worked on November 30 to put together goals that were important to us that we found common ground in, handed that to city staff, and now the city staff is going to be bringing us back action plans tailored specifically to those goals. So, we’re really stepping into 2021 almost like we made five resolutions and now we’re going to start trying to implement and bring solutions to those resolutions. And so, I’m excited for the new year.”