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City gives employees 3 percent raises

Three department heads get extra adjustment

Staff writer

Christmas for city employees came Monday in the form of three-percent raises approved by city council.

Administrator Larry Paine recommended the raises, as well as larger raises for three department heads to address what he termed as “anomalies” in the salary table.

Council member Bob Watson said the council wasn’t making raises just to make raises.

“I think we need to make sure everybody understands that there were no raises last year,” Bob Watson said.

While employees received a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment in 2014, no raises were given in 2015 because of the uncertainty of sales tax revenues in the wake of two major business closures.

“We did not make any salary adjustments because I wanted to see the sales tax effect of losing Alco and Heartland Foods,” Paine said in an agenda note provided to council members prior to the meeting.

However, what the city lost after Heartland Foods and Alco closed their doors, they gained with sales tax receipts from Dale’s Market and Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Mayor Delores Dalke asked Paine if the salary increase would go toward positions that were not yet filled, such as the economic developer position.

“If we hire someone that’s clearly new, we aren’t necessarily saying that they’d go up in salary,” Paine said.

Paine discovered while examining the salary table that three department heads were paid less than an assistant, that being assistant police chief Jessey Hiebert.

Street supervisor Dale Dalke and senior water treatment technician Morgan Marler were given raises of 9 and 6 percent respectively, which adjusted their pay slightly above that of Hiebert.

Recreation director Doug Sisk pay rate was well below the other three, and Paine did not recommend his compensation be aligned with Marler’s or Dalke’s. A raise of 8.5 percent for Sisk was approved.

Council members also discussed the future of city elections.

The legislature amended state election laws last spring to have municipal balloting take place in November non-presidential election years.

The law provided two options for cities to transition to the new schedule. The first would be to forego the spring election and move immediately to November elections.

The second was to continue with the spring 2016 election, and then transition to fall elections.

Council members chose to go ahead with a spring election, and will consider an ordinance detailing necessary modification at its next meeting.

Last modified Jan. 6, 2016

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