By MIKE ANTHONY
City Administrator Petree Eastman is recommending the Crestwood Board of Aldermen reconsider its vote to have an ordinance drafted to award city employees a one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment.
Aldermen voted 4-3 Dec. 13 to approve Eastman’s recommendation that full-time employees receive a $1,500 one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment and permanent part-time employees receive a $1,000 one-time, lump-sum payment adjustment. The board’s vote directed 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 one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment.
Since the board’s vote last month, Sears Holding Corp. announced that Crestwood Court’s Sears will be among the 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores it will close due to lower-than-expected holiday sales. A specific date for the closures has not yet been set.
The ordinance awarding the one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment is scheduled to be considered by the Board of Aldermen when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.
In her executive summary for Tuesday night’s meeting, Eastman wrote, “Due to the unexpected closure of Sears in 2012 and the uncertainty surrounding anticipated revenues, I would recommend that the board reconsider the motion for the preparation of the ordinance.”
The city administrator advocated the pay adjustment as a morale booster for city employees, whose salaries have been frozen since 2009.
But after the board’s vote in December, 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.
On Dec. 21, the city’s Civil Service Board voted unanimously to reject Eastman’s proposed pay adjustment, recommending the establishment of a comprehensive pay plan to address employee compensation, even if such a plan cannot be fully funded immediately.
In her executive summary, Eastman wrote, “… Since the last (aldermanic) meeting, the Civil Service Board met to discuss the proposed pay adjustment and voted against the proposal in favor of the preparation of a pay plan, even if not funded.
“As I have stated previously, staff is in the midst of collecting data and preparing a proposed pay plan, classification system and a performance review process that ensures consistency of employee review across departments in order (to) provide salary increases based on meritorious service. The pay plan will also contain a component for cost-of living-adjustments that are necessary to ensure employee purchasing power remains constant and ensures a robust merit system. This proposal will be presented to the board as soon as it is completed,” Eastman wrote.
She also wrote, “If the Board of Aldermen would like to proceed with a vote on adoption of the ordinance, it is attached hereto.”
As proposed, the pay adjustment would be for city workers employed as of Dec. 6 and would exclude new hires, including the city administrator, who began her duties in October.
The one-time, lump-sum pay adjustment would be funded by savings from positions that were unfilled during 2011. Savings from the unfilled positions totaled $161,982.95 while the cost of providing the adjustments would be $156,324.95, according to Eastman.
At the Dec. 13 aldermanic meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Deborah Beezley’s motion to approve Eastman’s recommendation for the pay adjustment was seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan. Besides Beezley and Duncan, Ward 2 Aldermen Chris Pickel and Steve Knarr voted in favor of the motion. Opposed were Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach and Ward 3 Aldermen Paul Duchild and Jerry Miguel. Ward 4 Alderman John Foote was absent.