Peyton Paying for Performance; Employees Will Be Given Raises Based on Evaluation System Created by City Hall, Unions

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Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA, The Times-Union

The best city employees in Jacksonville will soon get an extra incentive to do their jobs even better -- money.

In an effort to make government run a little more like a business, Mayor John Peyton has begun a pay-for-performance program.

Instead of every employee in a union getting the same percentage pay raise, a small percentage will be divvied up among those who get the highest marks on their evaluations.

"We reward people based on good performance as opposed to across-the-board raises," Peyton said. "The taxpayer deserves private-sector best practices."

He said in his old career as an executive at his father's company, Gate Petroleum, employees were rewarded for good performance with money.

The city first had to come up with a new way to do those evaluations. And because city officials had to get the unions to buy into the pay-raise concept, they asked union representatives to help create a new performance-management system.

"You want input from everyone who's going to have a stake in the outcome," said Adrienne Trott, the city's chief of human resources.

The first order of business was to try to erase any concerns of raises based mostly on favoritism, Trott said. So the city came up with a computerized system that rates core competencies, such as customer service and communication, based on specific standards. The ratings are unsuccessful, emerging, full performance, exemplary and distinguished.

So if a supervisor finds an employee fails to follow policies, is uncooperative and turns in late and inaccurate work, the ranking would be unsuccessful. At the other end of the spectrum, if the employee has high standards for work product, follows direction and leads others to do the same, the ranking would be distinguished.

Mike Temple, a regional director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents more than 2,600 Jacksonville workers, said the union helped the city come up with the evaluation system. …