The 1 percent pay raises for City of Platteville nonunion employees seemed to be a settled issue after the Common Council’s vote to include the pay increases in the city’s 2013 budget.
The resolution to approve the pay increase Dec. 12 turned out to be another opportunity for the Common Council to re-debate the pay increases, with the issues being the results of hourly employees’ having their hours cut from 40 to 37 per week vs. whether the city could afford to give them pay increase.
The council approved the resolution 4–3, with the same three aldermen — Common Council President Mike Dalecki and at-large Alds. Steve Becker and Dick Bonin — voting against the pay increases.
“We’re in a fiscal crisis, and we’re just bumping along as though there’s no problem,” said Dalecki. “We have our own fiscal cliff coming here.”
The resolution includes 2013 pay for 15 salaried employees and the city’s hourly employees.
The wording of the resolution caught Dalecki by surprise, with him saying he thought the intention of the pay increase was for hourly employees, not all nonunion employees.
District 2 Ald. Eileen Nickels confirmed she had intended that all nonunion employees, not just hourly employees, get pay raises — “that was my intent.”
The pay increase includes more city employees than it would have had it passed one year ago, because of the effects of the state public employee collective bargaining reform law. Public employees in many municipalities have voted to decertify their unions after the law restricted collective bargaining largely to wages.
The city’s only union employees now are police officers, who are represented by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. Other union employees “chose to not recertify,” said Bierke.
The council unanimously rejected a pay increase for two positions that won’t exist until Jan. 1 — the director of administration position, which has been accepted by city Finance Director Duane Borgen, and Borgen’s replacement.
District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian noted that those two positions will cost the city $125,000, even though they are partially funded by Water and Sewer revenues.
“If we can justify adding staff at city hall, we can justify a 1 percent pay raise for people at the lower level,” he said.