If your agency is looking to fill a position, feel free to send it to sjohnston@hanleywood.com.
Credit: Andreas Klinke Johannsen. Flickr If your agency is looking to fill a position, feel free to send it to sjohnston@hanleywood.com.

Was it Mark Twain who said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics? I believe he was referring to the tendency of politicians to use numbers to strengthen a weak argument.

Well, there’s one area where reality can’t be twisted to suit anyone’s needs: anything in the public sector. When a community wants to hire a new public works professional, the job description, salary range, and benefits are available to anybody and everybody.

As someone who works in the private sector, I envy that openness (or should I say transparency?). Job descriptions are readily available, but negotiating compensation often requires candidates to play the “am I shooting too high or too low” game with potential employers. It’s unnecessarily unnerving.

Thank you to the 1,331 of you who responded to our salary survey. We launched this exclusive research 10 years ago because no other comprehensive overview of state and local public works compensation packages (salaries and benefits) existed. It still doesn’t.

Overall, something we’ve predicted since at least 2008 is coming to pass: Public sector employees are paying more for standard benefits like health and dental insurance, etc. Over the last two decades, private employers increasingly passed on skyrocketing insurance policy costs to employees. One company I worked for changed providers every year in an effort to hold the line on premium increases. Now government is following suit, partly, as one survey respondent pointed out, because of the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in 2010.

But let’s get back to salaries. If your agency's looking to fill a position, please feel free to send it to me at sjohnston@hanleywood.com. We’ll post the job description here and Public Works’ LinkedIn group for free and include it in our weekly e-newsletter.

Hey, whatever we can do to help!