Published on August 04, 2022
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DENVER – Denver took a significant step toward ensuring it tracks pay equity among all employees after a 2021 compensation setting audit from Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA.
In the new follow-up report, we found the Office of Human Resources made significant progress in encouraging employees to complete their career profiles — a key data collection tool that allows them to track and compare pay factors such as experience, previous work record, education or certification, and level of responsibility.
When we conducted our initial audit, data limitations kept our team — and city management — from performing regular, comprehensive checks for bias in an employee’s pay.
Since our February 2021 audit, the number of employees who have completed career profiles in the city’s system of record has doubled — an increase of almost 5,000. A profile must include education, job history, and skills — at a minimum — to be considered “complete.”
“In 2021, the city resumed merit-based pay increases after freezing the program in 2020 due to the pandemic,” Auditor O’Brien said. “I am pleased to see Human Resources took the opportunity to reset and encourage more employees to share their data in support of equitable pay practices.”
However, there’s still room for improvement in how Human Resources monitors annual merit-based salary increases. The agency collected merit table worksheets from all city agencies and reviewed them, but we still found some inconsistencies with city rules. In at least one instance, an employee received a smaller pay increase than the citywide minimum based on their performance rating.
It is important that merit-based pay increases are applied fairly, consistently, and accurately both within and across agencies and in compliance with the city’s rules, so we consider our second recommendation to be only partially implemented.
“Regularly checking in on the city’s pay equity and salary increase practices is an important step to ensure every employee is treated fairly,” Auditor O’Brien said.
AUDITOR TIMOTHY O’BRIEN, CPA