Bonus, no raises for WM full-time city employees

Bonus, no raises for WM full-time city employees

Workers will find their stockings a little fuller ahead of the holidays

news@theeveningtimes.com

“City Workers appreciate what you did for them today,” said Mayor Johnson. Both the West Memphis City Council Budget Commission and the Personnel Committee produced year-end recommendations to provide more money to city workers.

The Budget Committee had forwarded the idea of a 3-percent raise starting next year, while the Personnel Committee, meeting with representatives from each city department, called for a 3-percent bonus.

When the full City Council met last Thursday, the talk was all about bonuses.

The raise was not on the agenda.

But two different bonus recommendations were on the agenda — one from the committee and one the initiative of Councilman Wayne Croom.

Croom suggested a new formula that capped bonuses at $1,000 and a sliding scale. Croom’s proposal found little traction, being tabled indefinitely in favor of the alternative produced by the personnel committee.

Councilwoman Melanie Hutchinson reported the Personnel Committee’s recommendation.

“Our recommendation is to give full-time employee bonuses of 3 percent of salary with the minimum bonus of $1,000 after one year of service.”

City Treasurer Frank Martin clarified setting the oneyear- of-service date at Dec. 7.

With only one bonus package to consider, some Council members began discussing amendments.

Marco McClendon and Willis Mondy bandied about the idea to include part-time employees in the year-end bonus bonanza with a $500 gift. There are about 25 part-timers working in the city.

Councilman James Pulliaum wondered if the additional

$12,500 was in the

budget.

“It’s not in the budget as it currently stands, along with some money transfers already scheduled, there is only enough to cover what

has already been presented,”

said Councilman Tracy Catt, who chairs the Budget Committee City treasurer Frank Martin had previously calculated the bonus for the 375 full -time city workers at $500,000.

The treasurer appealed to past practice.

“Over the years, whenever we’ve done bonuses, we’ve never included the parttimers,”

said Martin.

The mayor cited fairness in light of full-time employees with less than one year of experience with the city already being excluded.

“We just eliminated fulltime employees that have been here less than a year, and you’d include part-time employees – how are you going to justify that?”

asked Johnson.

“We’ve been meeting pretty regularly with Mrs.

Coleman (City Human Resource Manager) and representatives of the various departments and trying to maintain our part-time employees was under discussion. We did not support that (bonus), we did not have that conclusion,” said Pulliaum.

The council dropped consideration for part-timers and the discussion then shifted to approving the Personnel Committee’s proposal. But a handful of representatives urged the personnel committee to work out details about raises and bonuses during the coming year to avoid the annual year-end uncertainty.

“I’m in agreement with what was expressed by others here — this is something that needs so be considered during 2018, and not today,” said Catt.

“If we pass this today, everyone will have their checks by Christmas, if we wait until our next meeting they won’t,” said Johnson.

As Council approved the bonuses as presented, another councilman seated on the personnel Committee expressed appreciation for all city employees.

“We have excellent people working in all our departments,” said Councilman James Holt. “I was impressed with the utility workers on the power outage Saturday. Our first responders police and fire, along with our sanitation workers, you all do a great

job.”

By John Rech

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