City increases minimum wage, pay for workers

Published 6:24 pm Saturday, July 30, 2016

The top administrators in the Vicksburg Fire Department will receive raises from $3,500 to $10,000 and other city administrators will see a bump in pay from 2 to 3 percent under the plan proposed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

Flaggs announced the pay raise package — which raises wages from the city attorney down to seasonal and part-time recreation employees like swimming pool workers, baseball and softball umpires and basketball referees — at a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday.

The package, which is expected to cost the city $375,000, will also increase the city’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour and installs a “tier pay system” for firefighters setting pay scales based on rank, experience and training.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“Chief (Charles) Atkins will get a $10,000 raise,” Flaggs said. “His deputy chiefs, (Craig) Danczyk and (Kenneth) Daniels will each receive $3,500. The training officer will get a $2,792 raise. They are the only administrators who will get a specific dollar raise. Everyone else gets 2 or 3 percent.”

He said the dollar specific raises are aimed at reducing the gap between Atkins’ salary and Police Chief Walter Armstrong’s. Atkins presently makes $74,000 a year, while Armstrong makes $94,096 annually.

He said the tiered pay system for the firefighters was developed in 2014 but not implemented, adding all city employees received a 1.75 percent across the board raise that year. Atkins said the new pay scale includes built-in overtime for the firefighters and paramedics, who are not under civil service. Under the plan, firefighters with emergency medical technician and paramedic training will be paid at a higher rate for learning and having those skills.

“We started to set the structure, because under the old overtime system, a lieutenant could make more than a captain,” Flaggs said.

According to the proposal, city division and department heads will each receive 3 percent raises, ranging from $1,530 to $3,000.

Department supervisors and superintendents will get 2 percent raises, ranging from a low of $700 to a high of about $872, and the opportunity to earn overtime pay.

Flaggs said the overtime was added to come into compliance with federal wage and hour laws that set salary caps for the supervisors’  pay ranges.

“So rather than give them the large bump (in pay) we’re going to give them the dollars, but they’ll have to work for it,” he said.

In the recreation department, certified baseball and softball umpires with five years experience will receive $30 per game, and baseball and softball scorekeepers will be paid $15 per game. Certified basketball referees with five years experience will also receive $30 per game. Certified umpires and referees with less experience will get $25 per game and uncertified umpires and referees will get $20 per game.

Under the proposal, pool workers will receive from $8.75 to $10.25 an hour with head lifeguards and pool monitors getting $9.50 an hour. Summer workers at the Jackson Street Center can make from $7.75 an hour to $10 an hour.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said the board has been looking at employee raises for the past year, adding the department heads were cautioned to watch their budgets so money would be available to cover the raises.

“They have done their part and now I feel it’s only right and fitting that we keep our end of the deal,” he said.

“I’m definitely for it; it just depends on how much money there is to go around,” South Ward Aldermen Willis Thompson said. “I’m in favor of raises for the employees, it just depends on what we actually have and how we can make it go around fairly.

“I was always on the side of doing something merit-based, as far as the pay raises go. I’m looking at it (the plan) now, and I’ll probably make some suggestions to it, and get something we can agree on for the employees.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John