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Overdue housekeeping

The City Council made the right call last week when it approved automatic cost-of-living increases for management employees and brought benefits in line with what rank-and-file city employees get who work under union contracts.

Cost-of-living adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index are common — although it’s worth noting that many private-sector workers don’t get automatic raises to help them cope with inflation.

Still, it made little sense for upper-level managers to have to propose cost-of-living increases in their budget requests that their subordinates received automatically. The City Council will still have the ability to review changes and adjust them as needed.

It also made little sense for managers to get fewer vacation days than the people who work for them. Human Resources Director Tina Gray says city employees have actually refrained from applying for management positions because they would lose paid time off. That’s no way to run an organization. Not only does it discourage talented people from moving up and contributing their skills to the betterment of the city, it fosters resentment among those already in management positions who may have to cover for subordinates who get to take more vacation time than they do.

Although based on the CPI, the new salary numbers were determined after comparing compensation with similar positions in Medford, Grants Pass and Klamath Falls — another way to keep employees happy.

The management agreement hasn’t been updated since 2012, and many other changes in city benefits have happened since then, so it was high time for some housekeeping.