SLCo Council Considers Mayor Wilson’s Budget Recommendations

UPEA representatives attended the Salt Lake County Council Work Session on October 26, 2021, to participate in the first budget workshop of the season. At the meeting, an HR representative presented Mayor Jenny Wilson’s proposed budget recommendations, including:

    • 2% pay structure adjustment, 2.75% merit adjustment, and $15/hr. minimum living wage
      • Structural and merit adjustments are administered separately. The structure increase happens first as it is a foundational change, and then the merit increase is applied.
      • The mayor’s office is considering multiple proposals on how to implement the $15/hr. minimum living wage if approved.
    • Premium rate hold, $0 Telehealth copay, fertility benefits, wellness incentive, tuition reimbursement, and childcare
      • The current contract the county has with Creative Learning Academy ends 1/15/22. The mayor’s office will be issuing an RFP for a short-term extension of the contract so they can allow for study of other options.
      • The mayor’s presentation includes the following to consider in the childcare study process:
        • Expect large increase in costs (10% or more based on current market conditions
        • Potential need for additional locations
        • Work from home impact
        • Serve more employees – currently limited ability to support employees with this benefit
          • Currently subsidizing 46 employees / 64 children at $6,300 per month
        • Investigate additional dependent care options such as elder care

During their discussion on compensation recommendations, council members showed support for funding increases for employees, but uncertainty on how to distribute them. Council members expressed concerns about across-the-board adjustments, favoring increased merit adjustments in the future. It was addressed that these policy decisions should be discussed in the long term and not rushed during this budget season.

Following discussion, council members voted to adopt the benefit package as recommended by the mayor. The motion passed with four county council members voting in opposition. The budget process is ongoing; conversations continue for how to distribute a compensation increase for employees.

UPEA representatives have been in discussions with Mayor Wilson’s office and Salt Lake County Council members. Support for Mayor Wilson’s proposed budget— $12 million be distributed to employees as a 2% structural pay adjustment across the board and a 2.75% merit pay increase for those with a performance rating of 3 and above—is growing. Although support is growing, the final budget has not been passed and UPEA continues to advocate for the mayor’s proposed budget including redlined employees receiving increases as a lump-sum bonus.

Salt Lake County Councilmember, Aimee Winder Newton, presented the following Leg Intent on Performance Pay at the County Council Work Session on November 16, 2021:  

“It is the legislative intent of the Salt Lake County Council to support a new performance pay plan that would incentivize and reward high employee performance. It is the Council’s intent to revise policy to no longer provide an across-the-board merit adjustment to all employees who scored 3 or higher on their performance evaluation. The County Council will only provide funding for merit increases in the 2023 budget to those departments and offices that can adequately demonstrate a pay for performance methodology that distributes increases to employees based upon their performance evaluations, and which rewards higher performing employees with greater merit increases. The County Council will work with Human Resources to build a program and revise HR policy, as needed, in order to effectuate these changes in a systematic, rational, and fair manner throughout the County. Other compensation measures will also be examined as we look for the best way to attract and retain hard-working employees.”

UPEA will work with the mayor’s office and councilmembers to make sure employees’ voices are heard during the transition from the current pay structure to a more enhanced pay for performance structure.

If you have questions about the budget, contact employee representative Hannah Gorski at or 801-264-8732 ext. 216