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Springfield City Council is scheduled to vote on pay raises at its Jan. 24 meeting.
SBJ file
Springfield City Council is scheduled to vote on pay raises at its Jan. 24 meeting.

City Council considers raises for employees

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Employee salary adjustments are on the agenda for the Jan. 24 meeting of Springfield City Council.

Council heard first readings of eight separate payment-related bills at its Jan. 10 meeting. Five of the bills provide 4% raises for city workers, and two adjust the salaries of the city manager and city clerk.

A separate bill would provide retention pay through the American Rescue Plan Act, at the recommendation of council’s ARPA Committee, for workers in the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the Police Department and the Fire Department.

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a preliminary unemployment rate of 2.1% in November for the Springfield area, the most recent data available, plenty of businesses are fronting help-wanted placards, and city government is in the same boat. The bills also propose freezing lower-level pay entry steps to address competitive pay concerns and attract workers to city positions, according to Springfield Human Resources Director Darla Morrison.

“As shared previously, city employees have continued to show significant dedication and resilience in delivering public services to the citizens of Springfield through this challenging time resulting from the pandemic,” Morrison said.

The health of current city finances also allows for the recommendation of pay increases,  Morrison said.

Separate measures in front of council would adjust the salaries of various nonunion job titles, as well as job titles that operate under union contracts. These include agreements with the Southern Missouri Professional Fire Fighters Local 152, which represents a bargaining unit within the Fire Department; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 22, which represents a bargaining unit within the Police Department; and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 753, which presents a bargaining unit within the crafts, trades and labor employee group and another within the professional, administrative and technical employee group.

Council also will consider bills to raise wages of the city manager and city clerk.

In addition to the raises, the city is looking to distribute retention payments to eligible full-time, nonunion employees within the health, police and fire departments with funds provided to the city through ARPA.

Budget adjustments to accommodate the wage increases are as follows:

  • nonunion workers, $739,300;
  • firefighters’ union, $1.7 million;
  • police officers’ union, $3.1 million;
  • IBEW crafts, trades and labor union, $125,000;
  • IBEW professional, administrative and technical union, $8,000; and
  • ARPA retention pay, $1.7 million.

The city manager’s base salary would be boosted to $246,313 from $236,824. Jason Gage was hired in June 2018 with a base salary of $220,000.

The city clerk’s base salary would increase to $116,089, up $2,761 from the 2020 salary listed on GovSalaries.com.

The ARPA increases for police, fire and health workers takes the form of $2,000 lump sum payments in 2022, 2023 and 2024, for an aggregate of $6,000 per worker, Morrison said. Those payments will be included in paychecks on March 3, 2022; March 2, 2023; and Feb. 29, 2024.

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