Sustaining the Addison Way with Exceptional Staff

 Employee Compensation
Sustaining the Addison Way 

We keep hearing this mayor talk about sustainability in relation to the employee compensation issue.  He misses the point entirely.  The sustainability he and the Council should be worried about is sustaining an exceptional, creative and dedicated staff.  It has been the hard work of Addison’s staff that has allowed Addison to distinguish itself as a unique place in which to live and work.  We have been blessed for years by extraordinary staff leadership – and Council cooperation with that leadership – that has attracted exceptional employees, and has maintained an innovative environment that convinces these employees to stay with us.  Without our amazing staff, Addison would be just another North Texas community.  And that isn’t what Addison has ever been about.

Sustaining the kind of employees who provide the level of service we’ve come to expect in Addison means we have to compensate those employees fairly.  It is one of the most important investments we can make in Addison’s future.  And, we know from experience that we will receive more than a fair return on this investment.  Look around our Town.  What you see didn’t just happen, and it sure didn’t happen overnight.  It took years of dedication by Addison’s employees, supported by policies set by past Councils, that built Vitruvian, the Conference and Theater Center, the Town’s extraordinary park and trail system, our health club, and the other beautiful and extraordinary development projects you see around Town.  The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

We could all agree that sustaining our community of employees requires that Addison provide fair compensation.  Indeed, if we want superior employees, then we need to provide favorable compensation that incents the best candidates to apply and the best employees to stay.  How do we gauge that?  We compare ourselves to nearby towns and cities, because we compete with them for employees.

So here’s the problem: Addison’s compensation is not even as much as the average compensation paid by the nearby towns and cities against which we compare ourselves.  That means that Addison will have trouble competing for the best and the brightest, for the experienced, for the innovative and for the forward-thinkers, all of whom can make more money in the benchmark cities we compare ourselves with.   It also means that Addison’s employees have every incentive to leave and seek employment on more favorable terms in nearby towns and cities.  And that’s a policy that makes no sense whatsoever.

At the July 8, 2014 Council meeting, the City Manager made recommendations for moving forward to address this serious and fundamental issue.  They were rejected by this mayor and his supporters, with the expected 5-2 vote.  Once again we heard about sustainability.  And once again, this mayor entirely missed the point.

The key here is sustaining a superior staff.  Fixing the problem is imminently affordable and we’ll discuss that issue next.  In the meantime, the next time you hear this mayor talk about “sustainability,” ask him what he and the Council he now unquestionably controls are doing to keep and grow our staff.  And remind him that if he and his Council continue down the road they’re on now, the one thing that will become unsustainable is life as we know it in Addison.