Port of Tacoma Moves to Pay-for-Performance System for Raises

By John Gillie, March 28, 2013, The News Tribune

A resolution approved by Port of Tacoma commissioners Thursday will  enable port managers to move the port’s non-union workers to a pay-for-performance system next week.

That system bases employees’ raises on evaluations of their performance in reaching goals established by them and their bosses.

Gone are compensation increases based on cost-of-living changes and port-wide salary increase decisions.

Port spokeswoman Tara Mattina said the port’s non-union employees have all been evaluated during this year’s first quarter.  Their raises based on those evaluations will become effective Monday.

The port’s budget this year provides for performance increases of up to four percent.  On average, said Mattina, non-union port workers will receive 3.1 percent wage increases this year.

Port Chief Executive Officer John Wolfe wasn’t among those slated for raises next week.  Wolfe’s performance evaluation by port commissioners is scheduled for this summer.

Commissioners last summer awarded Wolf a $20,000 or 9 percent raise to bring his yearly salary to $240,000. Wolfe had asked commissioners not to consider him for a raise in 2011 because the port was still recovering from the recession.

In the last year, the port has seen its business increase sharply as four shipping lines abandoned rival Port of Seattle to make Tacoma their Puget Sound port of call.  The port has also recruited a major oil terminal to land that once was the site of the Kaiser aluminum smelter.

Commissioners Thursday also agreed to change the benchmark the port uses to adjust its salary schedules yearly.  Instead of using the regional Consumer Price Index to fine tune those schedules, the port is changing to a cost of labor index for major Puget Sound cities.

The CPI measures changes in the costs of living while the cost of labor index measures adjustments to labor costs.

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