Lebanon City Council met Tuesday where it approved an ordinance, with amendments, to give one-step raises to full-time city employees.
However, not all employees were included in the raises.
Councilor Kathy Warmath said she thought the ordinance was intended to give a raise to those who didn’t receive a pay increase or promotion included in the 2013-14 fiscal year budget and that those who did receive a raise should be excluded in this one-step increase.
Mayor Philip Craighead said he didn’t believe excluding anyone from a pay increase was the right thing to do.
“We had some restructuring, and we asked people to step up and take on more responsibilities and these people stepped up for the city,” Craighead said. “It’s not fair. I feel like we need to take care of our employees. Excluding a certain amount of people is not in my thinking.”
Craighead said about 18-20 people would be excluded from the raises.
Councilor Tick Bryan said he thought if the council was going to give raises then it had to give them to everyone.
“Everyone up here wants employee raises, but I don’t want to leave anyone out of the raises. We need to make this fair for everyone and not just exclude 18 people,” Bryan said. “If we do it that way then we’re opening a can of worms, and if I was one of those people excluded I’d be one with a can opener.”
City attorney Andy Wright said the city’s personnel rules and regulations, which were passed by ordinance, state they are supposed to give everyone a raise when doing a general pay increase, and excluding people could possibly raise a red flag or make the city liable for omitting people.
Warmath said she just wanted to give those people who were not considered for a raise in the budget process an opportunity for a pay increase.
Craighead said the council was “splitting hairs,” and cutting certain people out of the raises that stepped up and deserve it is wrong.
“If we do this I feel like we’re leading down the wrong path and direction for this city,” Craighead said.
Other changes to the ordinance include making the effective pay scale date Dec. 28, 2013 and stating employees had to be hired prior to Jan. 1, 2013 to receive the raise. Warmath said the $300 bonuses were a “moot point” and weren’t addressed in the amended ordinance and everyone would receive them as usual.
Craighead also made it clear that the money for the raises were available due to the city’s recent increased sales tax revenue, and no money would have to be taken from a reserve fund or property tax.
The council voted 4-1, with Bryan the lone dissenter, to approve the amendments to the ordinance.
When the council voted for the ordinance on final reading, it again passed with the same 4-1 vote.
Craighead said he would be in discussion with the council on whether he would veto.
The council is also looking to draft another ordinance that would address those “permanent part-time” employees who could be eligible for a raise.