While attending a Town Meeting on the budget, I happened to notice that employees who were not unionized, were given raises that varied significantly from one to another. I found this to be very strange because I knew that for many years these employees had not been given formal written evaluations. I questioned the Board of Finance about this and one of the Board members verified that I was right and that the Board would work on it. That was about three years ago and sadly it has never been done.
What is really upsetting is that these non-unionized employees are called “at-will” employees, meaning that they can be terminated at the will of the employer with no cause nor reason for the action. Since this is the case, there would be no reason to do performance evaluations when determining pay raises or employment status. This method of operating is a lose-lose situation for both the Town and the employee. An employee may never be given the opportunity to improve his or her performance and be let go without ever really knowing why. The Town on the other hand could be legitimately sued for age and disability discrimination, or other forms of discrimination, and has no record of attempting to help the individual improve let alone be properly evaluated for raises and employment status. Written evaluations of “at-will” employees on a yearly basis must be done for the good of employees and the good of the Town. It gives the employee a chance to read the evaluation and to work to improve his or her performance. It gives the Town the opportunity to help the employee improve or to verify that there has or has not been improvement.
These employees’ careers can be at risk as it stands today and the Town can be left vulnerable. We need an annual system of performance reviews and the employers trained in how to administer the plan.