published Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Chattanooga City Council stunned not all city workers getting a pay raise


by Cliff Hightower
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    Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield
    Photo by Lido Vizzutti

Mayor Ron Littlefield and several City Council members were stunned Tuesday night when they found out that not all city employees received an "across-the-board" pay raise.

"This is the first I've heard of this situation, so I'll have to see how many people were affected," Littlefield told the council.

The issue came up at the conclusion of the council's regular business meeting Tuesday night. Stephen West, steward of Service Employees International Union Local 205 and a city Public Works employee, told the council that those employees who had topped out in their pay grade received no 3 percent raise this year.

The City Council approved its 2012-13 operational budget last month. Included in the budget was $1.3 million in raises for city employees.

"At the top out pay, we should still get 3 percent," West said. "I'm sure the people at the top got a raise because they don't have top out pay."

Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Committee, expressed shock.

"This is the first time I'm hearing that," she said.

Littlefield told council members he would look into the matter and get back to them within a week. He said there could be problems with giving those raises at the top of their pay because of some personnel problems where they may bump pay with some supervisors.

The mayor said he would see how much money would be needed to give those employees raises. He told the council members they would need to pass an amendment to the budget to include those raises.

Councilman AndraƩ McGary said no matter the cost the city should give those raises because the council assumed the raises meant every employee.

"A man is only as good as his word," he said.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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