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Councilors tighten compensation plan

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Study finds no basis for the “LA factor”

By Roger Snodgrass

Councilors seized on findings of an employee compensation report Tuesday to eliminate the “Los Alamos Factor,” the cost of living premium thought to have an arbitrary influence in boosting the income of county employees.

Although there were questions about how that could be accomplished, it was one of several disapproving whacks that the Los Alamos County Council gave to the county compensation system in a motion accepting a Market Pricing Study by consultant Fox Lawson and Associates (FLA).

Only Councilor Vincent Chiravalle voted against the motion, but he said that was because he felt it didn’t go far enough to end outright a practice of paying lump sum bonuses to high-performing employees who have reached the top of their pay grades and are no longer eligible for raises.

“This councilor is ready to decide tonight. No lump sum payments, I can’t support it.”

The motion by Councilor Ralph Phelps passed 6-1, with an amendment by Council Vice Chair Sharon Stover that called only for staff-suggested “options” for the so-called “red circle” employees who might receive the bonuses.

Four employees were awarded the extra payments last year.


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