Huntington Beach Considers Spending $175K on Study of City Jobs 

March 12, 2021 Updated: March 14, 2021

Huntington Beach City Council is set to determine if it will spend $175,000 for a consultant to perform a “classification and compensation” study.

The plan seeks to organize all of the city’s job descriptions into logical categories that would enable Huntington Beach to have a fair and effective merit-based employment system, according to a recent staff report.

The council will vote on the item during its March 15 meeting.

The city’s most recent classification report was completed in 2006.

There has been considerable drift in the job environment since then, regarding job titles, descriptions, compensation, and more, said Councilmember Mike Posey.

“What we don’t know is: As jobs, titles, descriptions, and duties evolve and change, do [they] match the evolving landscape and best practices of our other cities that are employing the same kind of people?” Posey told The Epoch Times. “The idea is that employees have matching job descriptions and duties so that we can have a competitive salary landscape.”

Asked whether the work of reclassifying the jobs should be left up to city staff, Posey said it’s possible to do that, but would likely take a lot longer to accomplish.

“The practice of employing consultants is to gather the broadest amount of data and then analyze that data to determine best practices for really anything,” Posey said. “That’s why we hire consultants.”

The plan consists of three phases. The first involves compiling a compensation survey of eight Orange County cities. Next, a representative classification plan would be developed based on those cities. The final phase would include presenting the plan and working with city departments to tailor it to Huntington Beach’s needs.

“The question to ask is, do we have a broken system, and that we need to review all these classifications?” Posey said. “And are we losing personnel because a ‘Clerk II’ in Huntington Beach makes $40,000 a year, but a ‘Clerk II’ in Costa Mesa makes $50,000 a year? Are the duties and responsibilities the same?”

Given the reclassification of jobs, it’s possible that redundant jobs could be reduced or there could be additional opportunities for new jobs, although neither of those is exactly the intention of the study, Posey said.

“Hiring a consultant and benchmarking against other cities gives us the opportunity to identify any redundancies in positions or vacancies or opportunities in positions, not that we’re looking for people to hire,” he said. “But [it’s possible] there’s something that’s going on in other cities that we’re not doing internally, that we’re subcontracting out, or there could be something in the city that we’re doing internally that we could subcontract out.”

If passed, the report could take six to seven months to create.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis