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Council to reconsider raises

Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Lebanon City Council is set to meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. for the first time since Mayor Philip Craighead vetoed an ordinance passed by the council on final reading at a special called meeting Oct. 29.

The ordinance gives one-step raises to some employees.

At council’s last meeting, Councilor Kathy Warmath said she believed the ordinance was only 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.

The ordinance passed on first reading Sept. 3, and council met in a work session to discuss the issue before its final passage Oct. 29.

With Councilor Rob Cesternino absent, the ordinance then passed on final reading by a 4-1 vote, with Councilor Tick Bryan the lone dissenter.

Craighead then vetoed the ordinance Oct. 31.

“The problem with this amended [ordinance] is that it stops short of reaching the finish line for all our employees,” Craighead said in a statement. “On this, I feel it is totally wrong to omit 20-plus employees from an across-the-board raise. The positions, which have been excluded, are those jobs which have been reorganized for cost savings; individuals who have applied and received new jobs within the city to fill vacancies, and have received certificates within their descriptions so they become more professional at what they do.

“To leave these 20 employees behind to me is much like army service mentality of never leaving a fellow soldier behind on the battlefield. This is also totally wrong in that it goes against our own personnel handbook.”

Craighead cited a section on general pay increases that said raises “shall be applied equally to all grades of the pay plan in order to maintain the same degree of spread between grades and steps within grades.”

Craighead said he would submit a new ordinance at council’s meeting Tuesday. This ordinance would call for an across-the-board step raise for city employees.

According to Craighead, the timeframe for implementation of the step raise would be the same as the one he vetoed.

Before the meeting, council will also hold the swearing in of Robert Springer as the new commissioner of finance and revenue at 5:50 p.m.

Springer would replace Russell Lee, who died in July after a long battle with cancer.

According to Craighead, Springer has served as Alabama’s state U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency executive director and as executive director of state operations for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Washington, D.C.

Springer has worked in Lebanon for the past eight-and-a-half years as the executive director of Hearthside, a senior retirement community.

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