Huntington's Professional Pay Grade Ordinance Referred to Committee

Updated 3 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Huntington's Professional Pay Grade Ordinance Referred to Committee

Huntington City Council referred by a 9-2 vote the possible professional pay grade adjustment ordinance to the finance committee where it will be discussed at a date to be determined.

The City has lost two of its top administrators ---- Skip Holbrook and Brandi Jacobs-Jones --- to positions where they gained $45,000-$50,000  in salary.  Mayor Williams wants the flexibility to offer higher salaries; some council members want to know where the funds would come from in an already flat budget.

Ms. Jacobs-Jones will be working for Marshall University, which considered her hiring a "home run," according to the Mayor.

Stressing this is not a "pay raise ordinance," Williams said the flexibility would allow the city to better compete for the "best qualified" professionals. The pay grade "no higher than" alterations would have a zero dollar impact on the current budget. If all professional pay adjustments were made , there would be about a $103,000 budget impact.

"You authorize the number, but I authorize the highest (pay) grade," the Mayor said, adding this would make the city more competitive in securing professionals.

The proposal would add Professional Category Positions into the P-30 range. Depending upon experience and service, the Director of Administration and Finance would go from a P-27 (maximum $72,730.36) to $92,429 to $98,314. The Police and Fire Chief would be placed on equal pairing jumping from P-26 (maximum $69,267.50) to P-28 ($73,614-$82,617). The City Attorney would also go from P-26 to a P-29 ($84,579 to $90,465).  The Public Works Director and Finance Director would rise from a P-25 (approximately $66,000 maximum) to P-27 ($65,295.82-$69,267.50).

Councilman Scott Caserta suggested a referral to the Finance Committee to "clear up questions."

However, councilwoman Frances Jackson countered, "let's get it over and done."

Councilman Pete Gillespie added that "fresh eyes will not hurt."

Then, committee chairman Gary Bunn asked, "What do you not understand? It's like x, y and z."

Caserta answered, "Can we afford" these pay grades and "where will the money come from?"

Bunn, a former Huntington city manager, clearly viewed the determination as a discretionary  one to be made by the mayor, not council. "I'm chairman of the committee. I may not call a meeting."

At large councilman David Ball clarified that the committee meeting was necessary to clear up aspects of the ordinance upon which some members of council disagree.

"If you don't call the committee meeting, I will , if council so votes," responded Ball who is the vice-chairman of the finance committee.

Mayor Williams offered a working together overture.

"I have no problem going before the finance committee. Let's talk within the committee about an amendment." The Mayor continued, "I will not be able to recruit (professionals) for the two positions (i.e. director of finance & administration, police chief) at levels" we have now.

Councilwomen Jackson and Joyce Clark vote against a referral .

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