City workers due pay hike

"More than half the city's employees will soon have more money in their pockets thanks to an ordinance passed by the Port Orchard City Council passed an ordinance last Monday that sets a new, increased pay scale.About 80 percent of the non-union people probably got a wage increase, said City Engineer Larry Curles.The new wage increase, effective June 17, is the result of a salary survey paid for by the city of Port Orchard and completed by Hulbert Associates, Inc. Elected offices were not included in the survey, so there's no change (in salaries) there, said Bob Geiger, city councilmember and chair of the finance committee.The survey, which cost the city approximately $15,000, was initiated because of staff turnover.We had employees leave to other jurisdictions for more pay, Geiger said. So the City Council felt we should have a survey, Curles said. It was recommended by the staff.Geiger agreed.When you have to hire people, you have to determine a wage, he said. We wanted to be in the market to compete with other cities.Approximately $50,000 was budgeted last December to cover salary increases that were anticipated as a result of the survey.Curles said most of those who will receive increases are women secretarial people and workers inside City Hall proper. He also said that he, as city engineer, will receive an increase, as will the city treasurer. I don't want to hide that from you, he said.At the same time, a handful of city employees will see their wages frozen because they already make more than the survey recommended, Curles said. Approximately four to five people will not receive increases - not even cost of living raises - to bring the wage down, he said.Other city workers were not affected by the survey. Most were union employees, such as the police force and the public works and utilities crews, who have their wages set by contract .Apparently the salary issue for city employees has been around for a while.We've been studying this issue for five years, Geiger said. It's been a long haul.The survey was completed on June 1 and submitted to City Treasurer Kristine Tompkins. In it, Port Orchard's salary scale was compared to comparably sized Washington cities, including Brier, Chehalis, Enumclaw, Fircrest, Milton, Poulsbo, Sedro-Wooley, Snohomish and Steilacoom.According to the survey, 29 Port Orchard city positions were used for the study, ranging from clerical to engineer. "

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