Joplin city council approves FAA grant for runway reconstruction

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Joplin city council approved a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) that will go toward phase two of reconstruction to runway 18-36 at the Joplin Regional Airport. It was presented that after accepting this grant there is the possibility that the project will be completely covered by the FAA. This was passed as an emergency ordinance with eight in favor and one absent. 

After adjourning to a work session, the city council began discussion of a compensation study, which was presented by Shelia Maerz, Segal consultant, with Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards. Maerz and Edwards presented that this study highlights how important it is for the city of Joplin to have competitive market rates. Edwards recommends, after the study was conducted, that beginning November 1, 2020, the city implement a nine percent across-the-board pay increase for city employees in order “to help address the City’s ability to attract and retain quality employees.” The council moved and seconded that this recommendation move on to further discussion, and it was approved seven in favor with one opposed. 

The Compensation Study began after Proposition B was passed by the Joplin voters, creating an understanding “that an updated market compensation study was needed to identify market competitive pay for the City of Joplin to help address recruitment and retention issues,” according to Maerz and Edwards’ presentation. Edwards explained that this study was needed and would be beneficial to Joplin because the city has faced recruitment and retention issues for “several years.” The study results were presented as a means of providing Joplin with necessary data that would allow the city to “make the best decision to address recruitment and retention issues,” according to the presentation. 

The recommendation of the nine percent across-the-board pay increase would equate to $1.1 million, according to Edwards, which would go to Joplin city employees. Edwards said this is a way of keeping up with the increasing minimum wage, as he wants to see the pay plan keep up with regional pay increases through the future. Edwards said this is a way of “righting a wrong that was started 10 years ago” and that “this is kind of adjusting past issues.” Under this recommendation, starting pay increases, each step within each grade, and maximum pay for each grade; this is done to help “address employee retention.” With that, current employees would also receive a pay increase “equivalent to the approved percentage,” which is done to help “address employee retention.” 

Maerz presented that in the study when Joplin’s pay is compared to other locations, the city is locally “leading,” regionally “lacking,” and overall could do better. Edwards presented that the lesson learned from the study is that Joplin is “negatively impacted by neglecting regular maintenance of the pay and classification plan.” 

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