Council Moves Favorably on Amendment to Pay Grades

by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Council Moves Favorably on Amendment to Pay Grades

After an hour discussion in the Finance Committee, the committee recommended an amended version of the administrative pay grade proposal by a 3-2 vote to the full council.

The proposal accepted removed the P-30 pay grade (city attorney) and combines the Director of Administrative and Finance and City Attorney in the P-29 grade with its A,B,C, and D experience graduations.

Originally, the P-30 classification would have had a range of $92,429 to $98,314. The P-29 category ranges from $84,579 to $90,465.

Since the departure of Police Chief Skip Holbrook and Director of Administration and Finance Brandi Jacobs-Jones, Mayor Steve Williams stressed this is the first time the city has "gone out and recruited" during his administration. He told the finance committee, "I need to be armed with what is necessary to have what the city deserves."

Asking that council "to not tie his hands" financially in seeking the replacements, he added, "I think I have earned your trust and support" through prudent fiscal management, emphasizing for instance the city's bond rating increases and successfully navigating for nearly 18 months without a budget crisis.

However, at large council member David Ball persisted, "I can't justify the economics." Ball noted that the departed police chief had received a 21% raise, but the rank and file only 3%. He indicated that a difference exists between police and fire chief, too.

Williams countered that a full pay grade and job description review had been planned for his administration, but the departure of Chief Holbrook and Ms. Jacobs-Jones brought expediency to the administrative evaluations.

Although the proposed ordinance has been moved to second reading, it is unknown whether this one will pass. Various council members have told of numerous phone calls from citizens objecting. The public hearing will be in two weeks.

Deleting the P-30 category, 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).

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