City raises worker pay

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016


City employees will find their next paychecks a little fatter.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved implementing employee pay raises beginning Oct. 12, which is the start of the city’s next pay period.

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The board also approved an educational incentive plan to reward employees for getting extra training and certification, or who go to school and get degrees to enhance their job performance.

Under the pay raise plan, raises for all non-civil service employees are based on a sliding scale from 3.5 to 2.5 percent based in an employee’s rate of pay, with employees on the low end of the city’s pay scale — $8.26 to $8.50 an hour, or up to $17,680 per year — getting a 3.5 percent increase, and division heads, who are at the top of the pay scale — $35, 006 or more, getting a 2.5 percent raise.

Seasonal employees and recreation department employees like baseball and softball umpires and basketball referees are also receiving raises.

“The most notable thing is no other administration has given raises twice in one four-year term,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

“We are able to close some of the gap between fire department and police department pay. Especially with the fire chief and the deputy chiefs.”

The raises are funded with $400,000 in surplus funds from fiscal 2014 never put in the city’s reserve fund plus an additional $25,000 “cushion” from the $351,000 fiscal 2015 surplus for the first year.

City Attorney Nancy Thomas said the plan increases the minimum wage to $8.25 for workers who have been with the city for six months and increased police pay by 15 cents an hour with longevity increases for 25 and 30 years.

Thomas said the committee working on the raises increased the tier pay system for firefighters, which sets their pay scales under civil service.

“It had not been increased since 2008, and the raises given in 2014 kind of messed up the tier system, so we went back to the tier system and increased it over the 2014 raise so the fire department employees would get another raise,” she said.

Three administrators are getting pay raises in specific dollar amounts, Fire Chief Charles Atkins, $10,000, and deputy fire chiefs Craig Danczyk and Kenneth Daniels, who will each receive $3,500 raises.

Flaggs said in August when the raises were being considered he was raising Atkins’ and the deputy chiefs’ salaries to bring them close to the police chief and deputy chief salaries in the police department.

The raises, based on pay, include:

• $8.51 an hour to $10 an hour, 3.25 percent.

• $10.01 to $12 an hour, 3 percent.

• $12.01 to $16.83 an hour, 2.75 percent.

• More than $16.83 an hour, 2.5 percent.

Flaggs called the education incentive plan prepared by South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson, “a very progressive move for the city in terms of employees’ education.”

Thompson said the plan is an incentive program to encourage employees to improve their education and training and help retain employees.

However, a degree or certification must not be part of a job requirement.

According to the plan, employees who receive certification enhancing their knowledge of their job and their performance and responsibilities will receive an additional 50 cents an hour, while someone who receives certification that allows them to be promoted within their department, be assigned additional duties or move any open position with the city will get an additional $1.25 an hour.

Employees who receive an associate degree that enhance the knowledge of their job or performance will receive an additional 72 cents an hour. Employees receiving a bachelor’s degree that enhances their job or results in a promotion will receive an additional $1.15 an hour. Getting a master’s degree will raise an employee’s pay by $1.44 an hour.

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.

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