Answering Faulty Information About Merit-Based Pay
There is a continuing need to explain the Collin County’s compensation policies and correct faulty information about merit-based pay.

Answering Faulty Information About Merit-Based Pay

Not long ago, I shared some information about Collin County’s Pay-For-Performance (aka PFP or merit pay) system for public employees.
Most of the comments on the article were positive, but some criticisms of PFP had faulty information that needs to be addressed. Clearly there is a continuing need to explain the county’s compensation policies before we go into another budget cycle.
One particular employee comment boiled down to these three arguments:
  1. Employees would prefer guaranteed pay raises through the years.
  2. We are losing officers to surrounding municipalities.
  3. Senior officers are not adequately compensated.
Let’s examine each of these claims individually…

Faulty Claim #1: Employees would prefer guaranteed pay raises through the years.

This may be true for some government employees who are accustomed to automatic pay raises.
But merit-based pay works the way most of life does—extra effort receives extra recognition and reward. More productive employees get a larger salary increase; less productive employees get a smaller salary increase, if any at all.
Taxpayers deserve the most productive employees possible. And county employees who go the extra mile deserve extra recognition.

Faulty Claim #2: We are losing officers to surrounding municipalities.

From what we know based on exit interviews during 2016-2017, only one deputy sheriff left Collin County for a local law enforcement agency; he became a Chief of Police.
There are three others whose current place of employment is not known to us. We cannot be certain whether or not they left for another municipal agency. Not a huge number, in any case.

Faulty Claim # 3: Senior officers are not adequately compensated.

One other issue that continually pops up is our treatment of salary increases for more senior deputies.
Before PFP, a senior officer at the salary range maximum was truly capped at that max. Under PFP, if a senior officer hits the maximum of the range, the officer receives a one-time check, so the maximum is not really capped at all.
In addition, for the past four years, Collin County has increased the individual salaries of some employees in order to keep a correct spread between new hires and more senior employees. This method has been so successful that the highest one-time check for senior deputies decreased from $2465 in 2014 to only $505 this year.

The Truth About County Employee Compensation 

Collin County does extensive research comparing our law enforcement compensation with five surrounding larger cities and six similar-sized counties across the state. We may expand that number this year to get a larger sample set.
But these comparisons give us the gross salary increase. It does not determine individual salary increases.
Individual increases are determined through the merit pay system. To say that another way, our comparisons with other cities don’t translate to individual salary increases.
Collin County is committed to compensate our employees in line with comparable governments in the region. And we make it a point to appropriately compensate those loyal employees who continue to progress in their field.
Merit pay is important, and we will continue to reward those employees who excel.