Peabody City Council members discussed a pay increase for the three employees of the public works department Monday night.
City Administrator Shane Marler had prepared a graph showing the history of pay raises for all full-time city employees. He also noted that it has been four years since the public works employees have had any kind of salary increase, including a cost of living increase.
“A small pay increase for the department was budgeted for 2013,” Marler said. “On July 23, 2012, you approved a $1.05 per hour raise to be split between the three employees. The raise was never implemented, but the funds were budgeted.”
After discussion, council member Pam Lamborn moved to rescind the July 2012 motion, with a second by Steve Rose. The motion was voted down, 3-2.
More discussion emphasized the often disagreeable jobs, hours, and weather in which the employees are expected to work.
“That’s true,” said Lamborn. “But they are compensated by overtime pay or compensatory hours.”
The council voted four to one, with Lamborn opposed, to allow the amount budgeted and grant the pay raise.
“The raise amounts to only about $1200 a year. I think we need to at least do something to show our appreciation for the work they do in the middle of the night or in bad weather,” said Mayor Larry Larsen.
The council approved the increase effective with the next pay period, which began Monday.
A condition of the July 2012 motion was that the $1.05 would be split between the employees in a manner decided upon by Marler and Public Works Director Darren Pickens. They will present the split at the next council meeting.
In other business:
- Marler presented the city’s insurance renewal package to the council. The renewal is scheduled for April 1, but just arrived at the city office, cutting short the time available to seek bids from other carriers. The premium is almost $5,000 higher than for 2012. The council instructed Marler to call the insurance carrier and find out why the delay took place and see if there are options such as a ‘grace period’ on payment. The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Friday for a special meeting to review the findings.
- Marion County Emergency Management contacted the city to report that combined countywide expenses for snow removal during February met FEMA guidelines. However, FEMA needs additional information about specific charges for personnel, equipment, and time on the job. Marler will gather and report the city’s information. It was also noted that Marion County has not yet been designated a disaster area by the government.
- In a related issue, Marler said some residents had complained that snow was removed from certain streets more quickly than others. He told the council he had gone through city ordinances and found nothing related to a policy on snow removal. After discussion of costs and logistics, the council agreed to look at the issue during budget discussions.
- Council members discussed the growing problem of semitrailers making use of downtown alleys for deliveries to businesses. Some of the trucks have been traveling several blocks north of the business district after making deliveries and are damaging curbs and sidewalks they cross. Marler will contact the businesses in question and follow through with the trucking companies to find a solution.
- Repair to the American Legion façade, scheduled to begin Monday of this week, was again put off because of the weather. It was re-scheduled to Wednesday.
The next meeting of Peabody City Council will be 7 p.m. on April 8 in Peabody City Building.