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City of Lima, Ohio Utilities Department The Road Less Traveled: Establishing Performance-based Pay for the Entire Utility

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In 2002, the City of Lima Utilities Department (Utilities Department) initiated a leadership development effort as part of their Competitive Reovganization Plan (Comp Plan). Significantly, the plan included middle-management training, less attended facilities through process control enhancements and mechanical improvements, merging distribution and collection system field operations, moving to a new building, and rolling-out skill-based pay to all divisions. Given the complexities of a public multi-service utility (employing 101 people to provide water and wastewater services), and the often limited internal resources, launching the changes needed to develop leadership as laid out in the business plan required extraordinary focus, structure and patience. The effort has taken seven years to achieve the intended outcome, including: an improved and more autonomous middle-management team, an established progression path for leadership and skilled-based pay as standard employee expectation. This paper describes the Utilities Department's strategy for improvement, which at the core includes an unwavering determination to pay employees based on the level of their skills and the merit of their performance, therefore establishing a measureable system of reward and responsibility within this public and unionized organization.
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Keywords: Competitive Business Plan; Competitive Reorganization Plan; Reorganization, skill-based pay; performance management; performance-based pay; strategic organization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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