Compensation & Classification

Government is in the service delivery business, and quality service requires quality employees.  An effective compensation system will help you attract and keep talented employees.  Likewise, an out-of-date or ill-conceived compensation system will produce turnover and hamper efforts to recruit quality replacements.


In the real world of limited resources, government is increasingly expected to do more with less. Accordingly, a community’s pay philosophy must strike a reasonable balance between a desire to pay your good employees well to retain their good services, while at the same time controlling costs to keep faith with the taxpayers.  Designing a pay system is not easy, every community is different, and a “one size fits all” approach seldom produces a good result.  As we work with you to build the best compensation system for your community, we keep four very practical objectives in mind:


  • You need compensation and benefits to be sufficiently competitive to hire, retain, and motivate qualified workers. 

  • You must maintain internal pay relationships that satisfy the State’s pay equity requirement of equal pay for equal work.

  • You must remain in control of the process to assure final recommendations strike a proper balance between wages/benefits and available resources. 

  • You need the study to be a positive process that is open and fair to all employees, managers, and unions.

In today's marketplace, your city or county must efficiently and effectively manage your greatest asset: your employees. We all know compensation matters a lot! A well designed compensation system, aligned with your goals and in tune with current standards, will help you attract and retain the talented employees you need to serve your residents. Whether you need a classification and compensation study, an overall organizational study, revised job descriptions, or some help dealing with pay equity compliance, we can provide the services you need.
DDA's proprietary compensation model incorporates the latest data on competitive market conditions with data on your organization.  Using this model, we can calibrate and compare your current wage ranges with the market and provide trend lines clearly showing how your wage scales stack up.   You will have the information you need to make informed decisions.
Ongoing Maintenance

This exclusive DDA Human Resources, Inc. program is designed to eliminate the need for large classification and compensation study every 4 to 6 years.  As a request by clients, who want to maintain their pay structures and avoid large studies, every 3-7 years. Services include everything needed to keep a freshly updated compensation plan perpetually current.  We find that about half of larger communities who have completed a compensation study with DDAHR have opted to convert to this management approach. 

For more information, contact:

Tessia Melvin
Management Consultant

Tel: 612-920-3320 x 103

• Comparables

• Level of Responsibility

• Reporting Relationships

• Experience Required

• Benefits

• Incentives

• Healthcare

• Retirement

• Vacations/sick

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• Flexibility

• Size of Organization

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• # of Employees Supervised

Service Team

Tessia Melvin

Tessia heads the compensation and classification (C&C) services area of DDAHR.  Over the past two years, Tessia has served as lead analyst on over 20 separate C&C engagements with Minnesota communities.  She brings to the position nearly 13 years of diverse service to city and county government in Minnesota.  As a City Administrator in Maple Plain, Tessia drafted five-year budgets, capital improvement plans, infrastructure improvement plans, and led strategic planning program.  She was directly responsible for human resources and internal and external communications.  Working in Dakota City, Tessia provided leadership training, managed their performance management system and worked with compensation and benefits.  Dedicated to local governments and continued learning, Tessia earned her doctorate in Public Administration at Hamline University with an emphasis on city development and planning. 

David Drown

David is the founder and owner of DDA.  David lends his technical and statistical expertise to the team to manage the collection and analysis of market data, helps calibrate compensation plans, and calculates budget impacts.  David received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and served in local government as a registered Civil Engineer early in his career. He also holds an MBA in Finance from the Carlson School of Management and has served as a finance and economic development consultant to numerous cities and counties across the State. 

Elizabeth Blakesley

Elizabeth has worked at DDA for over 20 years.  She provides technical and clerical assistance to coordinate the market surveying process and prepare documents.  She utilizes her organizational and technological skills to help provide concise, professional work results.  After attending the University of MN – Duluth, Elizabeth began working with local units of government in Minnesota with the MN Small Cities Association.  Her work in municipal finance and economic development has given her a good insight into the operations of counties and cities throughout the State.


Human Resources, Inc.

a David Drown Associates Company