Monette Council reviews pay raises

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monette City Council held a special called council meeting Thursday, June 2, to discuss proposed city employee salaries.

Mayor Chub Qualls reviewed the report formulated last month by a salary review committee.

Alderman Dick Pace presented the first draft of the report during the regularly called council meeting held May 22. The committee met again last week to review the original proposal.

"If the council gives raises now then it is back to giving raises in July instead of January like intended," Alderman Billy Watson said.

"The council has been waiting to see the amount of additional money that will come in due to the census," Alderman Bob Blankenship said.

"I have some concerns regarding raises," Alderman Perry Wood said. "Raises do not have to be given and the issue could be looked at again in January."

"There is a compromise," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "The council could forgo raises at this time but instead give a mid year bonus with raises to be reviewed again at budget time. The bonus would not be added onto the employee's regular salary, it would be a one-time thing. This would give the council from now until January to tweak salaries."

The council went into executive session to discuss disciplinary action of an employee. No action was taken when the council reconvened.

Alderman Watson brought up the discrepancy regarding the police overtime pay and regular pay. He pointed out the way the daily rate of pay is currently handled the police lose around a dollar an hour to work overtime. A lengthy council discussion followed.

The council voted to pay police time and a half per 12-hour shift for any shift worked over 56 hours, effective immediately.

"When Alderman Pace and I originally worked on the salary proposal he was not aware of what all went into being the dog catcher," Alderman Wood said. "He said he did not think about the fact that the pens have to be kept clean, food and water provided several times a day, and that he (Bill Benham) is on call at any hour to pick up a dog."

Mayor Qualls pointed out that in the proposal the dog catcher would actually be losing money to keep doing that job.

"If the council makes dog catching part of his (Bill Benham's) job and takes away the pay, then he could quit the dog catching and the city would have to hire someone and pay them." Mayor Qualls said.

"If the council makes it part of his job he would be required to do it," Alderman Pace said.

The council agreed to continue to pay the dog catcher, Bill Benham, $91.76 per week but to do away with the $7.00 per dog. He is to use a city vehicle to catch and care for the animals.

"The council needs to look at each person's salary individually and decide what each person should make and then revisit it at budget time," Alderman Wood said.

The council voted to give a one-time bonus of 5 percent across the board, based on annual salary but for six months. An exception would be for one part-time employee who will receive 2.5 percent. Employees will have their choice of July 1 through Dec. 1 to receive the bonus check.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, June 27, at city hall.

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