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Joplin Improving Employee Salaries But Not Every Single Position is Affected

This year, on average Joplin is paying 112% of the Overall Market Average, or 12% higher salaries than nearby cities for similar positions.

Wages of city employees in Joplin have been a touchy subject between City Council members and city staff over the years as many salary surveys have shown that the city historically underpays its employees.

Tuesday night we got an update on the situation.

KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

It’s not uncommon for school districts, universities, cities, and other municipalities to underpay their employees when you compare a similar job in the private sector.

Employment in the Governmental sector is often more than just about hourly or annual pay.

It’s all about the stability in addition to having many paid holidays off per year, such as Labor Day, and a healthy pension.

According to data presented Tuesday night by Joplin’s Director of Human Resources Michelle Ducre, Joplin has increased their Regional Average Salary in comparison to seven nearby communities such as Springfield from 84% in 2020 to 95% this year.

The job of Public Work Engineerin Joplin has been open since mid-July and the city has been unable to fill it. Ducre provided some insight on why speaking before the council Tuesday night.

“I’ve been talking to some of the engineering firms in town because I have friends, and one of things that they said is that we are closer to being competitive to market, however, kids coming out of school with a four year degree are commanding $90,000, $100,000 in this market.”

Joplin’s starting salary for a Public Work Engineer starts at about $64,000 a year, requires a four year degree and three years experience as a full-time professional engineer in a public works environment.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.