9 CIR 118 (1987)


An Unincorporated |
Association, |
Petitioner, |
Respondent. |
Unincorporated Association, |
Petitioner, |
v. | CASE NO. 647
Respondent. |


For the Petitioner: James A. Beltzer

Luebs, Dowding, Beltzer,

Leininger, Smith & Busick

Wheeler at First Street

P.O. Box 790

Grand Island, Nebraska 68802

For the Respondents: Paul M. Schudel

Woods, Aitken, Smith, Greer,

Overcash & Spangler

1500 American Charter Center

206 South 13th Street

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Dale C. Crandall

Clinch & Crandall

455 Grand Avenue

Burwell, Nebraska 68823

Before: Judges Cope, Mullin, and Kratz



Rodeo Telephone, Inc. Supervisory Employees Association filed a Petition with the Commission on July 24, 1986 pursuant to Section 48-818 (R.R.S. 1943) seeking to resolve an industrial dispute as to wages and conditions of employment for the calendar year beginning January 1, 1986. Soon after this initial filing, on August 15, 1986, Rodeo Telephone, Inc. Employees Association filed a similar Petition with the Commission pursuant to Section 48-818. Because the cases involve the same issues, time frame and employer, the Commission ordered the cases consolidated for purpose of Trial.

After numerous procedural delays (ten Motions were filed and ruled on prior to Trial), the Trial was held on December 22 and 23. The Stipulated Issues at the time of trial were as follows:

(1) Whether any pension information other than the current level of employer contribution to pension benefits is within the Commission's jurisdiction and is therefore relevant to these cases.

(2) Whether the position of General Manager is properly included within the supervisory unit in Case No. 647, and thus a proper subject for wage and fringe benefit determination.

(3) Whether the individual holding the job title Assistant Plant Superintendent is in fact performing the duties of a Combination Man and thus, should not be included in the supervisory unit in Case No. 647, and rather should be properly included within the employee unit in Case No. 646.

(4) Whether a local employer array should be used for comparison to the General Manager, Office Manager, Data Processor and Cashier position under the facts of these cases.

(5) Whether the methodology of using a minimum/maximum salary range in these cases is appropriate.

(6) If the methodology in paragraph (5) above is found appropriate, whether the Respondent or the Commission possesses the prerogative to set specific salaries for Respondent's employees within a determined minimum/maximum range for a given job position or classification.

(7) What the appropriate employer array should be in each of these cases.

(8) What the comparable wages and fringe benefits are that shall be paid to Respondent's employees.

(9) Whether bonuses and/or longevity payments paid by employers included in the array(s) are a part of wages or are a fringe benefit.

(10) Whether the overall fringe benefits paid to the Respondent's employees are comparable to overall fringe benefits paid by employees in the appropriate array(s).


Petitioner's proposed array is comprised solely of telephone cooperatives. Three of the cooperatives are within the State of Nebraska: Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company, Glenwood Membership Telephone Corporation, and Three River Telco, and four are out-of-state operations: Blue Valley Telephone Company, Rainbow Telephone Cooperative, and S & T Telephone Cooperative Association, located in Kansas, and Mid-State Telephone Company located in South Dakota. Petitioner presented evidence at trial establishing that each of these entities operates as a rural cooperative telephone company with the same basic corporate structure that presently exists at Rodeo. Subscribers pay membership fees for home telephone service and each subscriber is then entitled to one vote at the annual membership meeting. The company is basically owned by the members/subscribers and governed by a board of directors elected by these subscribers. All of the above listed cooperatives employ one half to twice as many employees as Rodeo and are located within approximately a 200 mile radius of Burwell, Nebraska. With the exception of Three Rivers, each of the proposed co-ops also utilizes one half to twice as many access lines as utilized by Rodeo in its current operation.

Based on the facts established in the record, we find that all of the proposed array members offered by the Petitioner are sufficiently similar and have enough like characteristics to make comparison appropriate in this case.

Respondent offered two distinct arrays for use by the Commission. The first array included all the telephone cooperatives located in the State of Nebraska: Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company, Glenwood Membership Telephone Corporation, Three River Telco, Henderson Cooperative Telephone Company, Hemingford Cooperative Telephone Company, and Hershey Cooperative Telephone Company. Each of these cooperatives also operates as a rural cooperative telephone company with the same basic corporate structure that exists at Rodeo. The cooperatives located at Henderson, Hemingford and Hershey employ less than one half the number of employees employed at Rodeo and utilize substantially fewer than one half the number of access lines utilized by the Rodeo operation. The Commission has often held that employers used for the purpose of comparison should generally range from one half to twice as large as the employer in question. Diller Education Ass'n v. School District 103, 7 CIR 196, 200 (1984).

In selecting employments for the purpose of comparison in arriving at comparable and prevalent wage rates and conditions of employment, the question in front of the Commission is whether, as a matter of fact, the employments selected for comparison are sufficiently similar and have enough like characteristics or qualities to make comparison appropriate in that situation. Douglas County Health Dept. Employees Ass'n v. County of Douglas , 8 CIR 208, 212 (1986). Based on the facts in this case, we find that the significant size difference between the Rodeo operation and the operations located at Hemingford, Hershey and Henderson warrants the exclusion of these three cooperatives from the Commission's array. The remaining cooperatives offered by the Respondent's are within an approximate 140 mile radius of the City of Burwell and are sufficiently similar for inclusion in the Commissions array.

The second array proposed by the Respondent included the following local government and public entities: Community Memorial Hospital, Burwell Junior/Senior High School, Burwell Elementary School, Burwell City Government, and Garfield County Government. All of the entities are located in Burwell and the immediate surrounding area. Respondent presented evidence at trial that due in part to their public nature, each of these entities is similar to the Rodeo operation. Employees at the government and public entities are answerable to a board of directors and are responsible for filling out governmental forms similar to those forms filled out by Rodeo employees. Accounting procedures at these proposed array members are also similar to those accounting procedures utilized at Rodeo.

Community Memorial Hospital currently employs a staff of forty-five full time employees and approximately thirty-five to forty part time employees. This total is eight times the number of employees presently employed at Rodeo. Burwell High School also appears to be a significantly larger operation than Rodeo. The certified staff alone is over twice the size of Rodeo's total staff. 1


1.The Nebraska Education Directory 89th Edition 1986-1987; Nebraska Department of Education (1987) lists twenty three certified staff members at Burwell High for the 1986-1987 school year. The Commission has had occasion to rely on the facts and figures from this publication in previous cases. Because Respondent failed, in the present case, to provide evidence as to the size of the employee force at Burwell High we will rely on the figures provided by this reputable publication once again.

This does not include the support staff and clerical employees of the school. Although size difference alone is not necessarily detrimental to comparability, we find that the significant size difference between these two operations and Rodeo, coupled with the difference in corporate structure, warrants the exclusion of Community Memorial Hospital and Burwell Junior/Senior High School from the Commission's array.

Respondent's second array was initially offered for use by the Commission in setting the wages for those positions relating primarily to the business operation at Rodeo, namely: Cashier, Data Processor, Office Manager, and General Manager. Rather than develop two distinct arrays in this case we find that the evidence supports a blended array comprised of both telephone cooperatives and local government and public entities. Each job match offered by the parties will be reviewed by the Commission to determine its appropriateness. Where no job match is found by the parties or the job match offered is found to be inappropriate by the Commission, the wage data offered will not be used in establishing a wage rate comparable to the prevalent.

Having considered all the evidence presented by the parties on comparability, the Commission finds that an array consisting of the following employments is an appropriate array: Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company, Blue Valley Telephone Company, Glenwood Telephone Corporation, Mid-State Telephone Company, Rainbow Telephone Cooperative, S & T Telephone Cooperative, Three River Telco, Burwell City Government, Garfield County Government, and Burwell Elementary School. Three of these array members, Northeast Telephone Company, Glenwood Telephone Corporation, and Three River Telco are common array points offered by both parties for inclusion in the Commission's array. All of the array members fall within the objective size guidelines previously used by the Commission and all are geographically proximate to Burwell.


A number of the issues presented at trial related either directly or indirectly to the differing job matches made by the respective parties. The Commission is obligated to determine such issues from the evidence in the record and in accordance with the rules of civil procedure applicable to trials in District Court (48-812 and 48-809).

Assistant Plant Manager

Respondent contends that the Assistant Plant Superintendent at Rodeo is in fact performing the duties of a Combination Man and therefore, no separate array information for the position of Assistant Plant Superintendent should be presented by the parties or reviewed by the Commission. Respondent bases this contention in part on their prior position taken in Case No. 655, a companion case to the one at Bar.

In Case No. 655, a representation case, Respondent argued that the position of Assistant Plant Superintendent at Rodeo performs no supervisory duties and therefore, should not be included in the Supervisory Unit, but rather the Employee Unit. The facts as presented prove otherwise. The record indicates that Assistant Plant Superintendent does share many similar tasks to the Combination Man - A position held by R. Johnson. Both have had training in Central office equipment maintenance and operation. The record further indicates that the Assistant Plant Superintendent does hold supervisory duties consistent with his job title. From the satellite business office in Scotia, Nebraska the Assistant Plant Superintendent supervises at least one employee on a regular basis, and other Rodeo employees on a temporary basis as needed. Based on these facts, as presented at trial, we find that the position of Assistant Plant Superintendent is not comparable to the position of Combination Man as contended by the Respondent.

Because of the limited amount of data available on the position of Assistant Plant Superintendent in the Commission's array, we have chosen, in this case, to determine the wage range of the Assistant Plant Superintendent by imputing the wages from the Combination Man-A position. The present historical percentage that exists between the wages of these two positions was maintained when the new minimum-maximum wage range for the position of Assistant Plant Superintendent was calculated. The methodology used in this calculation is set out in detail in footnote (d) to Table 2. It should be noted that the position of Plant Superintendent has a fifty percent salary range between the minimum and maximum wage rates while the Assistant Plant Superintendent position has only a thirty-five percent salary range between the minimum and maximum wage rates.

Central Office Technician

Petitioner has provided array information on a position generally referred to as Central Office Technician in the industry. This job title is not currently recognized at Rodeo; however, Petitioner provided evidence at trial indicating that the Combination Man-A position held by R. Johnson at Rodeo requires the same or similar work and skills as the job matches set out in Table 5. Respondent argues that because the job title Central Office Technician is not listed in the Rodeo Employment Code (Exhibit R-39), no such position currently exists at Rodeo. Consequently, Respondent disagrees with the array information and job matches contained in Table 5.

Pursuant to Section 48-818 the Commission is mandated to establish wages comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid for same or similar work and skills. A job title alone is not indicative of the work or skills the job itself entails. The Petitioner introduced substantial evidence verifying the actual job requirements, duties and skills for the position referred to as Central Office Technician in Petitioner's exhibits. Through interviews, job descriptions and job titles the Petitioner matched the position of Combination Man-A, held by R. Johnson at Rodeo, to those various positions listed on Table 5. We find these job matches to be appropriate. The emphasis in determining proper job matches must be on the skills, duties and requirements of the compared to positions and not solely on the job titles.


The Legislative mandate of Section 48-818 (R.R.S. 19) directs the Commission to establish wage rates for comparable employments at a level comparable to the prevalent. The Section reads, in part, as follows:

[T]he Commission of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions. In establishing wage rates the commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not worked, including vacations, holidays, and other excused time, and all benefits received, including insurance and pensions, and the continuity and stability of employment enjoyed by the employees.

Id .

Where the facts warrant it, the Commission has determined wages by establishing minimum and maximum pay rates, comparable to the prevalent rates, for each job classification within the given bargaining unit. See , Douglas County Health Dept. Employees Association v. County of Douglas , 8 CIR 208 (1986). This situation occurs frequently when the employer in question compensates its employees on the basis of an established salary schedule. The existing salary schedule can be easily modified pursuant to the Commission's findings of new minimum and maximum wage rates.

Such is not the case here. The evidence presented indicates that the Respondent has no salary schedule currently in operation. There are no compensation guidelines nor set minimum and maximum pay rates for the job classifications, rather, the Board of Directors, under recommendations from the General Manager, is responsible for setting the annual salary of each Rodeo employee. The criteria used by the Board in establishing these salaries are not easily discernable from the testimony at trial. They appear to include a combination of both subjective and objective factors.

Currently, there are ten employees of Rodeo, the same ten individuals who were employed during the 1986 calendar year. These employees are employed in a total of seven job classifications. One job classification, Combination Man, has four incumbents. The remaining job classifications have one incumbent each. Because of its small size and simple organization, Rodeo has been able, in the past, to successfully administer its salary policy on an individual basis. In fact, almost all the telephone cooperatives proposed by both parties for inclusion in the Commission's array operate under similar salary policies. Only one, Mid-State Telephone Co., has an established salary structure with minimum and maximum rates and interim salary steps.

In order to accurately establish comparable wage rates at Rodeo in accordance with the evidence presented at trial, we must adopt a method of wage determination which allows for management's consideration of both the longevity and experience of each employee. By establishing wage ranges, calculated from an array of comparable employments, we have insured the employees a wage rate comparable to the prevalent and have also preserved the employer's current policy of considering both objective and subjective factors in determining the annual salary of each Rodeo employee. Actual placement of the individual employees within the established pay ranges set out in Table 3 will be accomplished best by the management of Rodeo.

Previously in Plattsmouth Police Dept. Collective Bargaining Committee v. Plattsmouth , 205 Neb. 567, 288 N.W.2d 729 (1980) the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's determination that employees with differing years of experience, all within the same job classification, should be paid wages differently depending upon their experience. Moreover, the Court recognized "that experience and longevity in employment may provide a basis for an increase in compensation over the starting salary fixed for a particular job classification." ID at 569.

The evidence presented in the present case substantiates the Court's holding. Rodeo management in the past has used longevity and experience as a basis for increases in salaries within a single job classification. This practice is evident in the Combination Man job classification. The three incumbents in this position all receive different hourly rates of pay and have been employed at Rodeo for different lengths of time. The individual with the longest employment history at Rodeo receives the highest hourly pay rate. The Commission's establishment of salary ranges will allow the Rodeo management to continue to take into account longevity and experience when setting annual salaries.

At trial, Petitioner and Respondent each presented a method for use by the Commission in comparing the wages at Rodeo to those at the other array points. The Petitioner's method is evident on Exhibit P-1. An hourly rate was established for the position of General Manager by determining the hourly salary midway between the mean and median salaries of the comparable employees listed on the exhibit. The hourly rate is set out in column four. This wage rate apparently coincides with the "years of service" set out in column 6 and the "years of service in the present position" set out in column 7. A similar exhibit was prepared for each of the seven job classifications.

Returning to Exhibit P-1, what the Petitioner has shown in this exhibit is that the hourly rate of $20.15 is a wage rate comparable to the prevalent for a General Manager with a total of 19 years experience in the telephone industry, 15 years of which have been in the present position. The weight to be given this evidence is debatable. The incumbent General Manager at Rodeo does not make $20.15 per hour, nor, however, has he had the requisite 19 years of experience set forth in column 6. The Petitioner's method fails to consider the effect longevity and experience may have on the wages of the various array members. Petitioner offered no criteria by which the Commission could adjust this new hourly rate to take into account the differing years of experience of the Rodeo employees. Any adjustments by the Commission would not be supported by the evidence and would consequently require both speculation and conjecture. Such practices are strenuously avoided by this Commission in wage determinations. In this case, a salary plan which allows for some flexibility in establishing wage rates appears to be the most appropriate.

Respondent proposes establishing a salary range with a minimum and maximum wage rate for each job classification. Establishment of a salary schedule with salary ranges is supported by the evidence presented at trial. As no salary ranges currently exist at Rodeo, Respondent's expert relied on textbook material and his own expertise in the field of salary administration in developing a method by which salary ranges could be established. To obtain minimum and maximum rates Respondent applied a mathematical equation to the hourly rate determined by the arrayed employments for each job classification.

First, Respondent classified the positions as "exempt" or "non-exempt" as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act 2


2.Section 13(a)(1) the FLSA (29 U.S.C. Sec. 213 (a)(1) exempts "bona fide" executive, administrative and professional employees, of any employer from the minimum wage, and overtime provisions of the law. In order to qualify as an "executive" employee, an employee must earn a salary of $155 per week and his/her primary duties must include: (1) management of an organization or management of a subdivision or department of an organization; (2) supervision of two or more employees; and (3) the firing or hiring of employees or the making of recommendations with respect to firing and hiring. 29 C.F.R. Sec. 5411. To qualify as an "administrative" employee, an employee must earn a weekly salary of at least $155.00 and his/her primary duties must: (1) consist of non-manual work directly related to management policy or business work operations or administrative work; and (2) involve the exercise of discretion or independent judgment. Additionally an employee must: (1) assist an executive or administrative employee; (2) perform only general supervision along specialized lines; or (3) execute specialized assignments under general supervision. 29 C.F.R. Sec. 541.2. A"professional" employee must earn $170.00 per week and his/her primary duties must consist of: (1) work requiring advanced knowledge acquired through specialized study; (2) original or creative work involving "artistic endeavor;" or (3) teaching. The employee's work must also: (1) require the exercise of discretion; and (2) be intelectual and varied in nature and involve output which cannot be measured on the basis of standardized units of time. 29 C.F.R. Sec. 541.3.

and assigned salary ranges accordingly. Those positions classified as non-exempt were assigned a 35% salary range. The minimum rates for these positions were determined by multiplying the current wage rate by .85, and the maximum rate was determined by multiplying the current rate by 1.15 (See, R-3 Case No. 647). The exempt position was assigned a 50% salary range. The same basic process described above was applied to the current salary to compute the minimum and maximum rates for this position, however, the factors used in the multiplication process were .80 and 1.20 respectively (See, R-1 Case No. 647).

Respondent did not use a mathematical equation alone to determine the salary range for the position of Combination Man (See, R-5 Case No. 646). Because four of the seven array members offered by the Respondent had more than one individual occupying this job classification, actual high/low pay ranges existed. These actual salary ranges were used by the Respondent where available.

As previously stated, Respondent relied in part on text book material in developing the minimum and maximum rates for the job classifications at Rodeo. Specifically, Respondent referred to two recognized treatise in the field of compensation administration: Prentice-Hall Personnel Management, Compensation and Handbook of Wage and Salary Administration by Milton Rock. 3


3. Prentice-Hall Personnel Management (1980). Compensation, 40,108. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc. Rock, M. (1972). Handbook of Wage and Salary Administration. McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Sections from each of these treatise were submitted into evidence by the Respondent (See, R-55 and R-57). We have reviewed these sources and have found that they generally support Respondent's proposed methodology. A few variances however, do exist.

Respondent proposes only two ranges for the job classifications at Rodeo: a 50% range for exempt and a 35% range for non-exempt employees. We would add an additional salary range of 15% for the lower levels of the job heirarchy at Rodeo. Moreover, we would not base the salary ranges strictly on the employees' status of exempt or non-exempt. This finding is consistent with the Prentice-Hall material contained in Exhibit R-55. This source sets the following as practical guidelines for establishing salary ranges:

1. In the higher levels of the pay structure, the spread should probably not exceed 50%. That translates to 20% above and 20% below the midpoint. The 50% spread gives you dollar spreads of increasing size as the midpoint increases.

2. In the middle ranges of the job heirarchy, the range is typically about 25-30%.

3. At the lower levels of the job heirarchy (entry-level or unskilled jobs), a range of 10-15% is probably adequate.

Id at R-55, 40-110.

Both sources agree that the range should increase as you move from the lower to the higher-level jobs.

Along with the addition of a third salary range it becomes necessary for us to reclassify the Rodeo employees. Respondent uses a 50% salary range for the position of General Manager. The positions of Plant Superintendent, Assistant Plant Superintendent, Combination Man, and Office Manager have been appropriately assigned a 35% salary range by the Respondent. The positions of Data Processor and Cashier shall be assigned a salary range of 15%. The new minimum and maximum rates for each position are set out in Table 2.

Our Order only affects the back wages to be paid for the period over which we have jurisdiction and does not obligate the Respondent beyond December 31, 1986. The salary ranges set out in Table 2 are applicable only for the purpose of establishing wage rates for the year in dispute, January 1 through December 31, 1986. The management of Rodeo has the prerogative of placing each employee at a level of compensation within these newly established ranges which they believe is commensurate with that employees experience and longevity. Each employee however, must receive at least the newly established minimum rate for the 1986 contract year. Although our Order is not binding beyond the year in dispute, it is hoped that the comparable salaries established by the Commission will serve as guidelines to both parties during their salary negotiations for 1987.

As evident by the salary ranges listed on Table 2, we have set a range for the position of General Manager. In Case No. 655 Respondent successfully argued for the exclusion of this position from the Rodeo Telephone, Inc. Supervisory Employees Association. This position was however, within the bargaining unit at the time the petition was filed in Case No. 647. Moreover, the General Manager remained in the unit for the entire year in question, January 1, 1986 through December 31, 1986. The fact that this position is no longer represented by the Supervisory Employees Association in 1987 is irrelevant to this wage order which is effective for the 1986 calendar year only. The General Manager shall receive any back pay due to him for 1986 per our wage order.


Section 48-818 states that in establishing wage rates, "the Commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard ...to... all benefits received....".


A great deal of time was spent prior to trial attempting to narrow and define the pension issue currently in dispute. Petitioner prepared a substantial amount of evidence concerning pensions for trial. Due, however, to evidentary problems with hearsay and foundation and the Commission's limited jurisdiction on the pension issue, many of Petitioner's exhibits offered were not received into evidence. It should be noted that based on the evidence presented the Commission has no authority to order any change in the pension plan itself. See , Plattsmouth , 205 Neb. 567 (1980).

We have previously stated:

[A] number of factors enter into a valuation of pension benefits in individual cases, such as length of service, retirement age, level and method of calculation of retirement benefits, vesting provisions in the case of termination short of retirement, survivors' benefits, disability provisions, employee contributions and many others.

Lincoln Firefighters Association v. City of Lincoln , 8 CIR 31, 66 (1985).

The only pension evidence presently in front of the Commission is the employer's percentage of contribution. This information is set out in Table 9.

It is not clear from the testimony what type of adjustment the Petitioner would have us make in the present pension plan at Rodeo. The evidence in Table 9 indicates that the current employer contribution rate of 8.6% is a rate comparable to the prevalent for the array. Moreover, Section 48-818 requires that pensions, like other aspects of overall compensation, be considered as a part of the entire fringe benefit package.

Special Compensation Practices/Payment in lieu-of Insurance

Respondent seeks the deletion of two specific benefits from the total fringe benefit package at Rodeo. Compensatory time for supervisory employees working in excess of forty hours per week and the option for employees to receive cash in lieu of health insurance premiums are two fringe benefits that no other employers in the Commission's array appear to provide. Each of these benefits entails a substantial financial obligation by the employer. More importantly, neither is a prevalent practice in the array.

The contract year in question is January 1, 1986 through December 31, 1986. Undoubtedly by now, compensatory time has been granted and all payments in lieu of insurance have been made for the year in question. The problems encountered in ordering a decrease in wages relating back to the start of the contract year in question were previously addressed by the Commission in Douglas County Health Dept. Employees Ass'n v. County of Douglas , 8 CIR 207 (1986) citing I.B.E.W. v. Metropolitan Utilities District , 6 CIR 246 (1982).

...[e]stablishing lower wage rates presents difficult practical problems and public policy considerations. Usually the year involved in the dispute has partially elapsed and sometimes, as here, entirely elapsed before the case can be tried by the Commission. During all of the elapsed time, the employees have been receiving wages at the higher levels. The question of how a wage reduction order for the year in question could be implemented is not easy to answer. For employees to be required to repay excessive wages or to require future wages to be still further reduced by the already paid excess would create severe hardship on employees and place severe strain on the employer-employee relationship...

Id , at 224.

Similar problems would be encountered by ordering the deletion of a benefit relating back to the start of the contract year in question. We cannot ask supervisory employees to repay the company out of their own pockets for all the extra compensation they received for work in excess of forty hour weeks during the past calendar year. Nor can we ask employees who received cash in lieu of insurance coverage to repay this money to Rodeo. To do so would further strain the employee-employer relationship at Rodeo and is against public policy. However, any employee entitled to a lump sum payment from the employer for 1986 wages shall have this amount offset by any payment he received for supervisory overtime in excess of a forty hour week and any cash payments made during the year in lieu of insurance coverage. Only those employees entitled to lump sum settlements from the employer shall be obligated for overpayments received during 1986. By ordering an offset for overpayment during the year in dispute, we prevent the employees from receiving a windfall and credit the employer for benefits paid in excess of the prevalent practice in the Commission's array. We find this resolution to be fair and equitable to both parties.


Aside from the two benefits Respondent requested deleted from the fringe benefit package, the benefit package at Rodeo is comparable to those benefits available at the comparable employments in the Commission's array. Tables 9 through 16 summarize the evidence presented by the parties with respect to the Rodeo fringe benefits. "The rule of overall compensation contained in Section 48-818 does not require an identity of benefits but that the overall compensation be comparable to the prevalent..." Douglas County Health Dept. at 230. (emphasis added).

Taken in their totality, with the exclusion of the two benefits addressed above, we determine that the Rodeo fringe benefits are comparable to the prevalent fringe benefits offered in the Commission's array. In making this determination, we have considered all the benefits reflected in the evidence. As we have stated previously,

These determinations must be made on the basis of the evidence introduced by the parties in the trial of the case. The determinations under Section 48-818 may, therefore, vary from case to case depending upon the evidence introduced at trial.

Lincoln Firefighters at 56.


1. That the hourly salary ranges for each position at Rodeo Telephone, Inc. shall be those established in Table 2, effective for the period January 1, 1986 through December 31, 1986.

2. That any additional compensation due the Rodeo employees for the 1986 year shall be paid in a reasonable time following the entry of this Order.

3. That any compensation due to employees pursuant to number 1 above shall be offset by all overpayments received during 1986 for supervisory overtime and cash in lieu of insurance benefits.

4. That all other terms and conditions of employment for the year in question are not effected by this Order.

All judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of these Findings and Order.

Entered May 22, 1987.

We had tables on this case in the following subject areas: pension, compensatory time, sick leave, funeral leave, vacation and paid holidays, bonus pay, longevity pay plan, insurance, hours worked.