Graham mayor Jennifer Talley, joined by other council members during a meeting Thursday night, expressed irritation that a $2.00 per hour raised authorized by the council earlier this year for all city employees had been interpreted in a way “not intended” by the council, when some employees got more from the hike than others.
Talley said when she and other council members agreed to a $2.00 per hour raise for city workers in February, she assumed that would result in all employees getting $4,160 on an annualized basis, based on the assumption that the raise would be distributed based on a 40-hour work week – i.e., $2.00 x 40 hours x 52 weeks = $4,160.
Instead, some police and fire employees, who are paid on a different methodology, received higher amounts.
Instead of $4,160, Talley said some police officers, who work 84 hours within a longer time frame, were paid their raises based on an annualized amount of $4,368; and some firemen, who are paid based on 112 hours within a 28-day period; will receive $5,512.
“I want it fixed,” she said several times during a council discussion at the end of a meeting that lasted over four hours.
The council had dispensed with the remaining agenda items that they did not finish from a five-hour meeting on April 12 during the first three hours of their Thursday night session, then spent another hour and 20 minutes discussing issues that were not on the night’s agenda. The pay raise discrepancy came up during that time period.
Talley said she wanted all city employees treated “fairly and equally,” and did not think the three-tiered interpretation was consistent with that approach.
Councilman Joey Parsons acknowledged that he “didn’t realize” that some city employees had a different pay schedule that would have resulted in the different impact from the $2.00 per hour raise.
Councilman Bobby Chin said he had assumed, as the mayor had, that the raises would be based on the full-time equivalent (FTE) of a 40-hour workweek. Mayor pro tem Ricky Hall said he agreed with Chin and Talley.
(The fifth council member, Bonnie Whitaker, had been designated to take a seat on the city council, but had not been sworn in, at the time of the council’s February 24 special meeting on the pay raises.)
Ultimately, “by consensus” Talley instructed staff to “adjust” the raises going forward in order to equalize all employees to the $4,160 annualized level of full-time, 40-hour staff members.
It was noted that there had been three or four pay periods since the raises took effect, so that upcoming paychecks for those who got the higher raises would be reduced in order to equalize the pay hike.
Talley stressed that the procedure would not “take back” salaries already paid, but that the adjustment would “short” those who had gotten too much until it could be equaled out.
Read earlier coverage of the council’s February 24 decision to grant across-the-board pay raises rather than select pay raises to several departments with higher vacancy and turnover rates: https://alamancenews.com/city-council-ups-pay-for-city-employees-by-2-00-per-hour/
MORE GRAHAM NEWS FROM THIS WEEK’S EDITION:
Cherry Lane could another warehouse proposal, and this one wouldn’t need rezoning approval: https://alamancenews.com/could-another-warehouse-project-be-in-the-works-for-cherry-lane-if-so-no-rezoning-required-on-property-near-i-85-40/
Council adopts new water and sewer budget with rate hikes that take effect May 1: https://alamancenews.com/council-adopts-expedited-water-sewer-budget-with-may-1-rate-increases/
Fire (sub)station put on hold: https://alamancenews.com/new-graham-fire-substation-on-hold/
Mayor hoping to get company to cut back proposed recycling rate hikes: https://alamancenews.com/mayor-hopes-company-will-help-prevent-recycling-sticker-shock-from-higher-rates/
SPECIAL REPORT: The Pines Apartments in Graham a growing concern for law enforcement over drugs, guns, gangs: https://alamancenews.com/special-report-the-pines-apts-in-graham-growing-concern-for-law-enforcement-over-drugs-guns-gangs/