South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Aldermen vote to withdraw proposed pay adjustment

Pay plan ‘a good six months’ from completion, board told

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted last week to withdraw a proposal for a one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment for city employees.

City Administrator Petree Eastman originally proposed the pay adjustment — $1,500 for full-time employees and $1,000 for permanent part-time employees — Dec. 13. But with the closing of Crestwood Court’s Sears and the recently announced Barnes & Noble closing, the board voted unanimously Jan. 10 to withdraw the proposal.

The city administrator advocated the pay adjustment as a morale booster for city employees, whose salaries have been frozen since 2009.

Aldermen voted 4-3 last month to direct City Attorney Rob Golterman to draft an ordinance to transfer sufficient funds from reserves in the fiscal 2012 general and park and stormwater funds to fund the pay adjustment.

After the board’s vote last month, Mayor Jeff Schlink announced he would veto the ordinance if aldermen approved it.

He advocated a “big-picture” approach for a long-term solution to the employee compensation issue, including the establishment of a comprehensive pay plan.

Eastman said last week she is working with staff to produce a detailed pay plan.

That plan will link to performance reviews as a basis for merit increases, along with cost-of-living adjustments, departmental and employee goals and expected performance measures.

“It’s a long process. It’s not just a matter of finding out what the low and high is in 10 other cities. That’s the easy part,” she said. “The hard part is linking it to performance and making sure that people do progress in a step system based upon merit, but that is done in a very methodical way so that it’s evenly done across departmental lines.”

A thorough pay plan is “a good six months” away, according to Eastman.

“I would be lying if I told you that I could produce something in 60 days given my preference to have a very methodical process for determining the appropriate salaries for all the different employees,” she said.

Several aldermen said they supported the establishment of a comprehensive pay plan and accepted responsibility for one not being in place.

Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan said she feels as a member of the board she has to take ownership of the fact that there is not a pay plan in place.

“Shame on me for not making sure that we had something in place for our employees, even in the times when we didn’t have a lot of money to spend because they certainly have done the work,” she said.

Several aldermen, including Duncan, said the pay plan needs to be completed in a timely manner.

“I don’t expect all of us to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ when we’re doing this kind of stuff, but we really need to be sensitive to the fact that we are looking at our employees who help make this city the best place to raise children in the state of Missouri,” Duncan said, referring to the recent selection of Crestwood as the “Best Place to Raise Kids in Missouri” by Bloom-berg Businessweek Magazine.

Ward 4 Alderman John Foote said employee efforts have not been recognized since 2008, when voters defeated a proposed 35-cent tax-rate increase designed to help offset the revenue decline from Crest-wood Court.

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