Still no action on pay scale increases

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Council members received updated proposed pay plans at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the same time the council meeting was scheduled to start.

As happened in Monday night’s review of the plan, the council was willing to vote in favor of across-the-board raises for non-appointed employees.

The sticking point?

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The mayor.

He’s adamant about three appointed positions receiving raises. For him, these are non-negotiable, even if it means the rest of the city’s staffing stands in the gap over the point.

The three raises he’s firm on are for people he says, “are functioning at director level positions.”

Two are presently earning $41,000 to $45,000 annually.

For them, he is seeking an increase of $8,000 to $10,000.

The other positions and earnings were not made available.

As presented to the council at meeting, the proposed four percent increase outlined in the pay plan would have cost the city $434,712 and granted non-appointee positions an average increase of 6.28 percent.

Appointee positions would have increased an average of 5.29 percent, some posts earning zero increase, some earning more than 20 percent worth of an increase.

The council has approved $500,000 for the pay increases; the proposal would have left an approved appropriation of $65,288 to continue to afford pay increases in the year ahead.

The plan attempts to begin a corrective action in pay structures, and the mayor points out that the proposed four percent increase is “on top of getting employees increases that are formatted within the pay plan.”

Positions with the city are presently undefined in terms of output and pay structures.

All council members were interested in disregarding longevity increases.

Mayor James Perkins said that for employees with 20 plus years with the city, “$20,000 to $30,000 would satisfy the longevity appropriation.” The council will revisit longevity increases in January.

The council voted against approving the present proposed plan in a 5-3 vote.

President George Evans, Councilwomen Jean Martin and Geraldine Allen, and Councilmen Reid Cain and Cecil Williamson voting against the proposal; Councilwomen Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and Jannie Venter and Councilman Johnnie Leashore voting for the proposal.

Other business conducted began with a debate on extending some staff’s work requirements through the holidays to allow property taxes to be paid – at present, the office will need to accept taxes through Jan. 3, as the council has voted to grant city employees both Friday and Monday off during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.

Allen asked Perkins for his recommendation; the mayor asked if his recommendation would be accepted.

After Martin quoted from President Truman, “The Buck Stops Here,” Perkins said, “If you don’t give them the raise, I’m going to give them the day.”

The Public Safety Committee remains stymied.

Venter and Crenshaw have agreed to attend meetings with committee Chair Cain, provided the mayor is in attendance.

Evans agreed to permit this and to attend the next meeting as well, before deciding what action must be taken so that, as he says, “we can get the Public Safety Committee off the ground and running.

It has not functioned this year yet.”

The councilwomen have asked for Cain to render a public apology for his public inquiry into wrongdoing after the mayor, following a council vote against spending further city money on travel, granted them travel money.

Cain has publicly declined to make apology for requesting the accounting.

12 Stone’s liquor license was approved in a 7-2 vote in favor; owner Cecil Thomas appeared before the council, noting he employs security on the premises, and agreeing to work with police to keep the bar functioning as an asset to the city.

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

The next scheduled meeting is Dec. 12 at 5 p.m.