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Official Pay Plan
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2.1.0 The Official Pay Plan

The salary ranges and position titles as maintained by the Department of Human Resources shall constitute the Official Pay Plan for all employees of The City of Lake Forest except the City Manager.


2.2.0 Administration of Pay Plan

The City Manager, as chief administrative officer of the City, shall be responsible to the City Council for the administration and interpretation of the Official Pay Plan and shall set salaries for all employees within the limits of the salary ranges established herein. The City Manager shall apprise the City Council from time to time regarding the appropriateness of municipal salary levels, taking into consideration cost of living, area employment conditions, level of employee performance and other appropriate factors. All salary adjustments shall be authorized by the City Manager following consideration of recommendations by department heads, who shall certify each employee's eligibility and qualifications for such salary adjustment. The City Manager shall apprise the City Council of compensation adjustments for the Executive Staff during the annual budget review process or at the time of original appointment. The City Manager is further authorized to establish and administer an employee evaluation and development program to be used to determine employee job effectiveness, performance, and individual employee development. Such a program serves as an important factor in consideration of employee salary adjustments. Additionally, the City Manager shall have the authority to establish personnel review boards to administratively review and recommend employees for probation and salary adjustments. 
(See Admin. Dir. 2-18, Employee Performance Compensation and Evaluation)



2.3.0 Salary Administration Procedure


The following paragraphs detail the salary administration procedures for the City.


2.3.1 Establishment of Salary Ranges and Position Titles


The Official Pay Plan for City service consists of the established annual pay ranges and the titles of positions which are to be compensated within each pay range. The City Manager recommends adjustments to the salary plan from time to time, which become effective when approved by the City Council.

The Official Pay Plan establishes salary ranges which recognize that individual ability and exhibited job performance are the basic considerations in salary administration. The Plan also recognizes that it is desirable to provide the opportunity for employees to attain, within a reasonable period following employment, a salary level appropriate to their position and skills exhibited based on their performance. The various ranges are available upon request from the Director of Human Resources.

Pay Range: For the Operational, Clerical, Professional, and Supervisory Classifications, there are seven steps within each range, with Step 1 being the lowest and Step 7 the highest. Progression through each step is based solely on exhibited performance. Progression through the Managerial, Administrative and Executive Classifications is based solely on exhibited performance.



2.3.2 Applicability of Salary Ranges and Position Titles Schedule


Salary ranges represent full-time compensation for each position title to be paid to regular, salaried employees of the City. Pension participation will be required for non-sworn employees working 1,000 hours or more in a year in qualifying positions.


2.3.3 Original Appointment

Employees shall normally be appointed at the minimum level of the range authorized for the position, or Step 1. However, employees may be hired at a level higher than the minimum with the expressed approval of the City Manager, who shall have authority to establish initial employment compensation at any salary level within the range authorized by the City Council for the position. Employees appointed at the initial increment for their position salary range shall be eligible for a salary increase upon satisfactory completion of a probationary period and recommendation for salary adjustment by the department head. In no case will a new employee be appointed to a step higher than Pay Step 4 unless special approval is granted by the City Manager. No employee shall be considered for regular appointment or salary increase if he/she is determined to not satisfactorily perform the assigned duties of the position.

The City Manager may authorize increases larger than one step, subject to budgetary constraints, if the performance and skills exhibited during the probationary period warrant additional compensation.



2.3.4 Probationary Period


All persons employed by the City to fill a regular position shall serve a probationary period. Except as noted below, such probationary period shall continue for six months, providing the employee's performance is satisfactory. Such period may be extended not to exceed six additional months if, in the opinion of the department head, Director of Human Resources and City Manager, an extended period is necessary to fully evaluate the employee for regular appointment. Probationary employees are not guaranteed employment through their probationary period and remain subject to termination at the will of the City.

Sworn police and building inspectors serve a minimum 18-month probationary period. Sworn firefighters serve a minimum 12-month probationary period which may be extended until paramedic licensing has been achieved. Community Services Officers and Water Plant Operators serve a minimum 12-month probationary period.

During the probationary period, the employee must exhibit an ability to learn and handle the job for which he/she was hired. No employee shall be appointed regular employee status without having first been thoroughly evaluated by his/her supervisor and having his/her performance discussed with them. A decision as to whether the employee should be appointed to regular employee status will then be made by the department head, the Director of Human Resources and the City Manager. Should satisfactory job performance not be attained by the end of the period, the probationary period may be extended for up to six months with the agreement of the department head, the Director of Human Resources and the City Manager, or the employee shall be dismissed. 

Upon successful completion of the probationary period as determined by the department head, the employee will be appointed to "regular" employee status. Continued employment is dependent upon the employee's satisfactory job performance, adherence to City and departmental rules and regulations, honesty, and the City's available funding. Successful completion of the probationary period and appointment to “regular” employee status does not alter the employee’s at-will employment relationship. (See Admin. Dir. 2-18, Employee Performance Compensation and Evaluation; and 2-5, Use of Personnel Action Report)



2.3.5 Administration of Plan


Any new employee or an employee who has been promoted or transferred will receive a one-step pay increase upon successful completion of the probationary period, called the initial step increase. In the case of any employee promoted or transferred to Pay Step 7, this increase shall not be granted.

After the initial pay step increase, each subsequent increase will be based on the employee's annual May 1 evaluation and will take into consideration demonstrated satisfactory job performance. The increment salary increase shall generally follow the pay steps established by the City Council for the particular salary class, except that employees may receive a larger increase upon the approval of the City Manager if performance and skills demonstrated clearly warrant such consideration. Smaller incremental salary increases may also be granted if job performance does not warrant a full step increase. In those instances, a performance improvement plan (PIP) may be developed to assist the employee in improving performance.



2.3.6 Pay Plan Adjustments


Based on economic conditions and other factors, the pay plan may be periodically adjusted by the City Council. At the time of such adjustments, all regular, full-time employees will be eligible for salary increase consideration at the newly assigned salary rate or any portion thereof, depending on their evaluation, applicable to their respective salary classification.

A department head, upon a formal evaluation of any employee and following consultation with said employee, can recommend that no increase be granted based on a failure to perform assigned duties in a satisfactory manner. If an adjustment is withheld, a performance improvement plan may be established with the employee, and the employee may be reevaluated at an established time set by the department head and the Director of Human Resources. An adjustment may be granted by the City Manager when said employee's performance has improved to a satisfactory extent.



2.3.7 Promotions


Promotions in the City service shall be based upon merit and ability to fulfill the requirements of the position as described. If in the best interests of the City, vacancies in higher positions will be filled by promotion of qualified employees from subordinate jobs.

Promotional examination, education, oral interview, review of past work record and exhibited interest are factors which may be considered in determining the qualifications of an employee for promotion. All promotions are made upon department head recommendation to and approval by the City Manager, unless otherwise vested with the Mayor and/or City Council. All employees promoted or hired into a supervisory position will receive hands-on supervisory training as deemed appropriate by the department head and Department of Human Resources. Such training may include but not be limited to 10-Minute Manager segments; professional organization supervisor training programs (IPELRA) and leadership programs (Midwest Leadership Institute); leadership readings and onsite training developed and offered by the Department of Human Resources (i.e., Harassment, Alcohol and Drug Awareness; FMLA and ADA).

When an employee is transferred or promoted from one position or salary range to another, his/her salary may be adjusted by the City Manager and the employee may be placed on probation as determined by the City Manager. The salary will be at an increment within the new salary range. In the case of promotions, the City Manager may authorize a salary increase within the new salary range which reflects the increased duties and responsibilities assigned the employee. The City Manager shall recommend to the City Council promotional candidates for those positions appointed by the Mayor and/or City Council as set forth in Article VI of the City Code (Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Engineer, City Clerk).



2.3.8 Job Transfers


Job transfers are of two types: (1) those requested by the employee, and (2) those made by the City, either temporary or permanent, where the best interest of departmental operations is served. Such changes shall occur only upon approval of the City Manager.

Any employee may be required by the City to perform in another department of the City when necessary or proper for the efficient and effective use of personnel in carrying out the business of the City.



2.3.9 Reclassification


An employee's position may be re-established by the City Manager to a higher or lower salary range to properly reflect assigned duties and responsibilities and subject to budgetary constraints. The City Manager shall have the authority to reassign and place an employee at a lower salary range.


2.3.10 Resignations, Layoffs


To resign from the City service in good standing, an employee shall give his/her department head at least two week's written notice of his/her intention to resign. Under exceptional circumstances, the City Manager may waive the two-week notice requirement, thereby allowing the employee to leave in good standing. 

Any City employee may be laid off without reflection on his/her standing for lack of work or funds. The City usually will attempt to give at least two week's notice of the effective date of a layoff shall be given each regular employee affected. (See Admin. Dir. 2-30, Severance Pay)



2.3.11 Tree Trimmer Pay


Forestry employees who are classified as tree trimmers shall receive tree trimmer pay in the amount of $50 per month in addition to their established monthly rate.


2.3.12 Additional Duty Pay


The City Manager shall have the authority to assign additional duty responsibilities on an as-needed basis to regular employees which will be special or collateral assignments in addition to the employee's regular position. Employees receiving additional duty pay will only receive the pay as long as the additional responsibilities are required of that employee; the pay is not guaranteed. Employees assigned an additional duty position shall be eligible, upon authorization by the City Manager, for a salary adjustment, which shall be in effect only so long as authorized by the City Manager and subject to budgeting constraints. (See Admin. Dir. 2-14, Additional Duty Pay Administration)

The standards for awarding additional duty pay shall be as follows:

  1. The additional duties must represent skills not normally associated with the position classification and its description.

  2. The individual must be performing duties not normally assigned to the position and the additional duties must represent forty percent (40%) of the individual's time.

  3. The individual must act as working leader for a crew of three (3) or more for sixty percent (60%) of the individual's time. This must include: assigning personnel; directing personnel; being held responsible for crew performance by first-line supervisor; and being assigned as acting supervisor periodically.

  4. The additional duties must represent assigned managerial responsibilities either as an "acting" position or as an "assistant to" position.

Performance will be considered in making annual additional duty pay evaluations.


2.3.13 Additional Merit Pay


The City Manager, with the concurrence of the City Council, shall have the authority to establish an additional merit pay policy as defined in Administrative Directive 2-22.


2.3.14 Longevity Pay


In addition to regular compensation and in recognition of continued service to the City, employees are eligible for $35 per year of service after 5 years through 9 years; $40 per year of service beginning 10 years through 14 years; $50 per year of service beginning 15 years through 19 years. Employees with more than 19 years receive $75 per year of service. Subject to budgetary constraints this sum shall be paid in a lump sum amount during December each year, and years of service shall be calculated as of December 31 of the year in which the longevity pay is being paid. It is subject to all normal withholding. An employee terminating employment prior to December 31 for reasons of retirement or disability and who has reached their anniversary date for that year will receive the appropriate pro rata share of that year’s longevity pay calculated from the preceding January 1.

2.4.0 Positions 

2.4.1 Department Heads and Staff Assistants


The City Manager shall, within established salary levels approved by the City Council, have full discretion and authority to periodically adjust salaries of those persons in the Executive, Managerial, and Administrative classifications of the Pay Plan. Performance of such professional personnel will be reviewed at least annually on May 1. Increases shall not extend salary levels beyond the maximum annual rates established for the positions unless it is determined that the employee deserves a merit adjustment based on exhibited performance. The City Manager shall apprise the City Council of any such salary adjustment.

2.4.2 Job Sharing


The City recognizes that allowing full-time employees with special needs to share their regular, fulltime positions with another employee without reducing the efficiency of the position or the established hours of work for the position is often beneficial.

Any regular, fulltime employee in good standing may apply in writing to the department head for approval of a job-sharing arrangement. All requests will be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources for review and coordination. If an appropriate person solely at the City’s discretion is not found to share the position within 60 days, the request will be denied.

All job-sharing arrangements shall be governed by a job sharing agreement, which is effective for a maximum period of 12 months, but can be canceled with 30-days' notice by the employee or the City. The agreement may be extended upon a written request from the employee and approval of the department head. (See Admin. Dir. 2-12, Job Sharing Program)

2.4.3    Telecommuting and Temporary Telecommuting

Telecommuting allows employees to work at home, on the road or in a satellite location for part of their regular workweek. The City of Lake Forest considers telecommuting to be a viable alternative work arrangement in cases where individual, job and supervisor characteristics are best suited to such an arrangement. Telecommuting is a voluntary work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some jobs. It is not an entitlement, it is not a City-wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with The City of Lake Forest. (See Admin. Dir. 2-26, Telecommuting Policy)

In the event of an emergency such as a weather disaster or pandemic, The City of Lake Forest (City) may allow or require employees to temporarily work from home to ensure business continuity. This policy may also apply to employees with a short-term personal emergency where a telecommuting arrangement may be mutually beneficial. (See Admin. Dir. 2-25, Temporary Telecommuting Policy)

Requests must be completed on the appropriate forms and presented to the department head, who will forward any approved requests to the Director of Human Resources for final review and approval.

2.5.0 Residency Requirement/Housing Allowance Compensation


Although highly desirable, most employees are not required to maintain residency within the City limits. Fire personnel and police sworn personnel not covered by a collective bargaining agreement must live within a 27-mile radius of the Public Safety Building. Police and Fire sworn personnel covered by a collective bargaining agreement must abide by the terms of the agreement. Employees of these two departments must have the express permission of the Chief of Police or Fire Chief and the approval of the City Manager to reside outside those limits. All other City employees, except as noted below, must live within a reasonable distance to the City that will not prevent them from fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of their position.

The City Council recognizes that it is sometimes desirable and in the best interest of the community to have certain members of the staff reside within the City. These positions may consist of the following:

  • City Manager

  • Police Chief

  • Fire Chief

  • Director of Public Works

  • Director of Community Development

Each position will be considered on an individual basis. The City Manager is authorized to require such residency and to provide housing assistance, with prior concurrence of the City Council, to those employees if they are required by the City Manager to establish their residency within the City. The City Manager's housing compensation will be determined solely by the City Council.


2.6.0 Emergency Response Personnel


Employees required to make emergency responses may, at the department head's discretion, be allowed to take City vehicles home at night. This exception is being made to accommodate those individuals who require immediate access to equipment and radio communications in emergency situations. (See Admin. Dir. 1-12, Assigned Vehicle Use)


2.7.0 Fringe Benefits


The City has established policies and guidelines for the proper handling and taxing of certain employee fringe benefits to ensure compliance with IRS guidelines. Included in these benefits are guidelines on uniforms, logo wear, laptop computers and other miscellaneous items that may be subject to being taxed. (See Admin. Dir. 2-15, Employee Fringe Benefits)


2.8.0 Deductions from Exempt Employee Salaries


Exempt employees are not answerable merely for the number of hours they work. They work as few or as many hours as are necessary to accomplish the tasks expected of them. For this reason, and subject to the exceptions below, City policy provides the compensation of exempt employees should not be reduced for any partial-day absence (other than intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave); any partial-week absence occasioned by the City or its operating requirements, including holidays and partial-week shutdowns; or because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed. Deductions from the compensation of exempt employees are proper under the following circumstances:

1. Partial day absences for intermittent or partial day FMLA leave;
2. Full-day absences for personal reasons, other than sickness or disability;
3. Full-day absences due to the employee’s own sickness or injury (including work-related injuries and FMLA-related absences). Such deductions will be made in accordance with the City’s paid time off plans and state worker’s compensation laws and regulations;
4. Deductions from pay for penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance;
5. Any portion of a workweek that the exempt employee does not work at the commencement and termination of employment; and
6. Full workweeks in which no work is performed.

The City reserves the right to require an employee to utilize paid time off benefits for partial-day absences occasioned by personal reasons or by the employee’s own illness or injury. The City also reserves the right to offset from an exempt employee’s compensation any amount received in a particular workweek in jury duty fees, witness fees or military pay.

Improper deductions from the salary of exempt employees are a serious violation of City policy. The City encourages any exempt employee who believes his or her salary has been improperly reduced to report the problem immediately to his or her immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Director. The City will review the deduction to determine if it was proper. The review process may require the employee to provide information or present documents to the City. The employee will be notified of the results of the City’s review. If the City determines that the deduction was improper, the employee will be reimbursed for the improper deduction as soon as practicable. Employees are assured that the City is committed to comply, and expects all supervisors and managers to comply, with this policy and to carefully avoid making improper deductions from the salary of exempt employees. Employees also are assured that no retaliatory action will be taken for reporting improper deductions. Employees who suspect retaliation should report their concerns immediately to his or her immediate supervisor, the Human Resources Director or the City Manager.

Note: The City’s attendance and disciplinary action policies are applicable to exempt employees even though an absence may not be one for which a deduction from salary may be taken.

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