By JIM MAURER
The Hancock Park District board approved changes to its employee pay schedule Tuesday, prompted in part by an upcoming change in federal labor regulations.
The changes include an increase in base pay for three positions and changes in which employees are eligible for overtime pay.
According to HPD Director Gary Pruitt, a U.S. Department of Labor rule scheduled to take effect Dec. 1 states that employees who make a minimum of $47,476 annually are exempt from receiving overtime pay.
As a result, one of the changes approved Tuesday was an increase in base pay from $38,500 to $47,500 for the naturalist/program manager position. That job is one of four salaried positions included in the pay schedule that are exempt from overtime pay.
The three other salaried positions, including park district director, park operations manager and business manager, were already above the minimum salary. Each position has supervisory responsibilities.
The new pay schedule also includes an increase in base pay from $60,000 to $66,000 for the director’s position. The base pay has been unchanged for about 6-10 years, according to Pruitt’s staff report, and a salary comparison of 111 park and recreation directors nationwide indicated $66,000 is the average salary. Pruitt, who has been director since 2010, is paid about $83,253 annually.
Base pay for the marketing manager position was also increased from $18.50 per hour to $19 per hour, or $38,500 annually. The position also was reclassified to non-exempt status. The position will be restructured to function with a maximum of 40 hours weekly with a flexible time arrangement to offset overtime. Increasing the base pay to keep it exempt from overtime pay was not justified because the job does not have a supervisory responsibility, according to Pruitt’s report.
Five other full-time positions are listed as non-exempt and, therefore, eligible for overtime pay: Riverbend Recreation Area manager, $14 per hour; park managers east, west and central, $12 per hour each; and natural resource coordinator, $12 per hour.
The base pay, approved by the commissioners, “is considered the minimum starting pay for a new employee. However, under certain circumstances a new employee may be hired at a rate higher than the base pay,” according to information included with the pay schedule.
Separately, the board approved two resolutions providing severance pay and unemployment compensation for former marketing manager Tifani Boltz following her dismissal Aug. 18. The severance pay is about $454 and unemployment compensation totals $9,958. No reason was given for her dismissal.
Separately, Pruitt said he accepted an invitation to be part of an advisory committee for the state Department of Natural Resources’ “Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.” The committee will meet several times between September and December 2017 to review the plan.
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