Hoover City Council
The City of Hoover is adopting a new employee compensation plan that officials say will make it easier to recruit and retain top-notch employees.
The Hoover City Council during its July 6 meeting approved the new plan that allows city employees to top out in pay within 15 years vs. the current model of 25 years. The new pay scale goes into effect on Aug. 2, 2015.
Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey said the new system will keep the city from losing some of its best workers to rival cities. Ben Allison, battalion chief with the Hoover Fire Department, said the change to the 15-point pay scale from the old 25-point pay scale will be a big boost in his department’s recruitment efforts.
“If I’m next to another city and we’re competing for the same man, and that city says we will start you out at the same pay grade, same qualifications, but you’re going to top out with me in 10 years vs. 25 in Hoover, he has a better chance of getting him,” Allison said. “Now we’re trying to draw the top-notch guys who can go to Vestavia or Pelham or Alabaster. They will start off about the same pay, but will get to their top-out in 10 years versus 25."
Ten years ago when Hoover went under its current 25-year pay schedule, Allison said it was touted to be the plan of the future. Allison said it’s hard to complain because “we’re so blessed as Hoover employees, but it became apparent two-to three years into the plan” that no city around Hoover went to the same plan.
Jehad Al-Dakka, executive officer for Hoover Police Department, said having pay top out at 15 years compared to 25 years will help in recruitment of new officers as well. He said some of the cities Hoover competes against have pay top out in 10 years, meaning bigger annual salary increases.
“It helps us attract more qualified applicants and be very competitive with all of the municipalities within the metro area,” Al-Dakka said. “Young workers now want it now, they won’t wait 25 years. With 25 years, your step raises are so small. At 15 years, it’s a lot better.”
Al-Dakka said 15 years ago, Hoover would often see 400 job applicants a day taking the police test. Now when the city gives testing, the number of applicants ranges from 40 to 70.
Allison said it will be especially beneficial in recruiting younger firefighters.
“We will pay more at 25 years, but kids today won’t stay at the same job that long,” he said. “They don’t want to go through the process and want theirs now. This will help tremendously. We are cutting 10 years off the maximum schedule. It will make us more competitive and hopefully in the future we will be able to attract more numbers of applicants.”
Allison said 10 years ago Hoover saw 200 to 350 applicants take the firefighter test.
“In our last test we had 15 that took it and only about seven passed,” he said. “All of those may not make it to firemen. We’re picky. We are very honored. It won’t affect me. I’ve been here 40 years. But it will help those who come behind us and keep us competitive.”
Al-Dakka said the new pay plan will benefit all Hoover city employees, not just police and fire personnel.
“This is very beneficial to the police department and the city overall,” Dakka said.