New ordinance would create Performance Evaluation System, merit pay raises for AP

Tonight’s Parish Council meeting agenda includes the introduction of an ordinance to revise “personnel manual and official pay classification plan.”  Prepared by the interim Human Resources Director Lucy Cason, whose council ratification is also scheduled, proposed to the Council by President Clint Cointment, the revision would instill merit-based raises for Ascension employees.  The idea, floated during prior administrations, never had a chance until now and will probably meet some resistance from recalcitrant members who long for a return to police jury-type governance.

A second ordinance will be introduced to adjust the Pay Scale.  It reads, (added language in red text) “No employee salary shall be increased by more than 5% beyond the highest level of the pay scale for the employees pay grade.

Creating a Performance Evaluation System, one ordinance reads:

“The goal of the Parish of Ascension Performance Evaluation System is to involve employees in improving organizational effectiveness by integrating processes that:

a. communicate and clarify mission and organizational goals and objectives;
b. identify employee, team, and supervisory accountability for the accomplishment of goals and objectives;
c. clearly communicate the expectations of each position;
d. use the results of a performance appraisal as a basis for merit pay personnel actions; and
e. encourage employees to take responsibility to continuously improve, support team endeavors, develop professionally and perform at their full potential.

Performance Evaluation System. The system is a scored system with numeric ratings of core competencies that employees are evaluated against, such as:

a. Attendance & Observation
b. Quality of Work
c. Initiative & Cooperation
d. Safety
e. Knowledge
f. Personal Appearance
g. Reports & Correspondence

The numeric competency ratings are: (1) Unsatisfactory, (2) Needs Improvement, (3) Satisfactory, (4) Above Satisfactory, and (5) Outstanding.

The numeric ratings for each competency are weighted and combined for a total Overall Performance Rating, the five possible ratings of record of any Parish employee are:

a. Outstanding
b. Above Satisfactory
c. Satisfactory
d. Needs Improvement
e. Unsatisfactory

Appraisal Period. An annual appraisal is required for an employee to be eligible for a merit pay increase. The annual rating period is January 1 through December 31 for all positions covered by this system.”

Merit Pay Percentage. The percentage of merit pay and its distribution is at the discretion of the Parish President and will be decided upon annually. The availability of merit pay is not an
entitlement and should not be relied upon as an automatic increase in salary on an annual basis.

Employees with an overall Rating of Record of Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory are ineligible for a merit pay increase for that fiscal year. This is a permanent feature of the Parish of Ascension performance evaluation system and is not decided upon annually.”

All carrot, and no stick…with exclusive authority vested in the chief executive, it will be interesting to see how certain council members (Dempsey Lambert and Alvin “Coach” Thomas come chiefly to mind react.  Does the ordinance contemplate doing away with Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), a sacred cow in Ascension Parish Governments past?