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City Council Recap – January 6th


City of ClarksvilleClarksville, TN – The Clarksville city council met in its usual first of the month session.  The council was gathered for almost four hours this evening.

I will give the basic highlights tonight and send a more detailed version tomorrow.

City Employee Pay Study

The new proposed pay study had three pay options.

Option one: Would bring those not making the pay scale minimum up to minimum level. That covers about 25% of our employees. The cost was $928,000 for that option. The city had set aside about $1.34 million.

Option two: Would have brought about 40% of our workers to a mid-range point in comparison with city worker peers in other cities. That option would have more or less capped pay at that level and cost about $2.2 million.

Option three: Would allow employees to match their peers in others cities across years of experience with a upper limit range placed. That is the most fair of the options when comparing our employees across the board with their peers in other cities. About 63% of employees would see a raise. The cost is $2.7 million. About 37% will not see raises due to being in the proper range according to the study.

Mayor McMillan proposed Option Three, which was the one I had been supporting. Now the interesting thing is the city was able to dig up the $2.7 million to fully fund the that option. Sales taxes have been higher than expected, about a million less has been needed for insurance coverage and scraping together other bits and pieces provided the rest.

The vote for option three was 8-yes, 3-no and 1 abstain. I voted yes. On advice from the city attorney, Councilwoman McLaughlin abstained as her husband is a city employee.

Mayor McMillan had also proposed a 2% across the board pay raise for everyone.  For the over 60% that are to see raises this would NOT be in addition to the forecasted Option three raises. Basically, the 37% not getting any raise would get this.  I had an issue with this additional pay raise on several counts.

First: The pay study did not recognize the need. The study did not set any raises for these workers because their current salary is comparable to their peers’ salaries in other cities.

Second: This would have added around $330,000 dollars to the price tag of the pay raise.

Third: Most of that money would come from current city positions that were open or had not been filled. The problem with that is it is one time money being spent for a recurring need. So next year, we would need that $330,000 to pay for the positions we currently have and would be back on the books next year, plus an additional $330,000 would be required to make up for the across the board pay raise. I will not support using money in that method.  If we had a project this year that needed the money and it would pay it off this year, that is different. That is one-time money for a one-time project.

Fourth: Too many people in the private sector are taking pay cuts to keep their jobs thus dropping below the market rate of what some of their peers make in other industries. If the pay study says they are making the required wages against their peers, then I think city government has met its obligation. Too many cities are cutting employee workforces and we have added.

Fifth: That is about 1.5 cents of property tax to give raises where the study does not call for it. That is not fair to the taxpayer.

I proposed an amendment to delete the 2% across the board raise. That was approved by a 6-yes, 5-no and 1-abstain vote.  I voted yes.

That’s a wrap for tonight.

About Bill Summers




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