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Tuesday, October 22, 2019
   
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Education & Career Dev.

New Year Will Bring Pay Hike for City of Tybee’s Employees

SBJ Staff

10/26/2009 - Tybee’s approximately 90 city employees will get a 1.5 percent pay hike starting Jan. 1.

The City Council agreed Thursday, Oct 22 to give workers a cost-of- living pay increase for the second half of the 2010 fiscal year.  A decision was made during the council’s budget hearings in the spring not to increase wages for the budget year that began July 1.

The $35,970 for one-half of year’s raises will come from the city’s contingency fund.

Councilman Dick Smith urged members to honor a pledge to try to restore the raises for the last half of the fiscal year. He encountered resistance from some council members who argued the raises should be based on merit, and that awarding them selectively would increase productivity among workers.

“I think you need to reward your best-performing employees,” said Councilman Charlie Brewer, who – along with Paul Wolff – came out on the losing end of the ultimate pay-raise vote.

The other members – Smith, Wanda Doyle, Eddie Crone and Barry Brown – said merit raises should be considered separately and at another time.

In arguing for the cost-of-living raises, Smith and Brown noted the city had dipped into the contingency pot for other expenditures not as important as worker pay hikes in tough economic times.

“If you can spend $50,000 on turtle signs to tell people where the lighthouse is,” the city can give these raises, said Brown, citing an earmark the council made from the contingency money in September.

The cost-of-living raises are based on the same formula used to set increases in Social Security, though with inflation at bay, Social Security recipients will not be getting a raise this year.

Mayor Jason Buelterman noted Tybee’s good fortune, that the city is able “to talk about cost-of-living raises” when other local governments are having to do layoffs and furloughs and cut worker pay.

The vote was just 12 days before municipal elections on Nov. 3 when all of the city council members are up for re-election and are being challenged by six residents. A high percentage of municipal employees can normally be expected to turnout for city elections, an issue this year with little else on the ballot.

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