New PTC Council eyes raises

Tue, 01/19/2010 - 5:19pm
By: John Munford

Proposal would double pay of council, mayor; across the board increases for city workers up for vote

Despite a tight budget and continuing tax revenue declines, the Peachtree City Council is going to consider the possibility of enacting a mid-year across the board pay raise for city employees and a pay raise for elected council members.

Both matters are listed on the agenda for Thursday night’s council meeting.

The current budget does not include any pay raises for employees as several members of last year’s council cited the shrinking sales tax revenue brought on by the recession.

A 1 percent pay raise for all city employees would cost $106,362 and a 2 percent hike would cost $212,723, City Manager Bernie McMullen said in a memo to council members. McMullen does not propose in his memo how those funds will be carved from the current budget.

McMullen noted that “several” council members have indicated they want to consider the salary adjustment for city employees.

Mayor Don Haddix said last year that he supported at least a cost of living adjustment raise for employees, but his wish was voted down in the approved 2009-2010 budget.

The council pay raises were approved in 2007 with a start date of Jan. 1, but the raises were cut from the current year’s budget when it was adopted last year. City staff has suggested the $24,750 would come from the council contingency line item in the budget, leaving it with a balance of $25,250.

The current annual salaries of $9,000 for mayor and $6,000 for council members have not changed since 1985. The proposal would double those figures to give the mayor $18,000 a year and council members $12,000 a year.

Former councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett, who proposed the raises before they were approved in August 2007, said at the time she felt the higher salaries would encourage more people to run for office. The reason the start date was set for January 2010 was so none of the people on council who voted for the raises would receive them unless they won reelection.

The motion to double the council salary in August 2007 was supported by council members Plunkett, Steve Boone and Stuart Kourajian. Voting against was new Councilman Mike Harman while Mayor Harold Logsdon abstained. None of those people is currently serving on council.

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Submitted by nusport on Sat, 01/23/2010 - 11:22am.

You promised on the 18th that you would quit. I see postings from the 19th. adios.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 7:54pm.

Mayor Haddix, inquiring minds want to know if there's a tax increase to follow your pay raise in this horrible economy??? Are you raising taxes next time around???

Vote Republican

Submitted by Doug on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 10:40pm.

Logsdon didn't vote for the pay increase and Haddix will? Can you say Scott Rowland?

Submitted by helpful lawyer on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:14am.

The following can be found in the Peachtree City Code of Ordinances accessible on the internet at the PTC website:

Sec. 2-23. Salaries; reimbursements; expenses.

(a) The mayor shall receive $9,000.00 annually, which shall be paid to the mayor in 12 equal monthly installments. Effective January 1, 2010, the mayor shall receive $18,000.00 annually, which shall be paid to the mayor in 12 equal installments. This compensation is subject to all federal, state, and local taxes.

(b) The council members shall receive $6,000.00 annually, which shall be paid to each council member in 12 equal monthly installments. Effective January 1, 2010, the council members shall receive $12,000.00 annually, which shall be paid to each council member in 12 equal monthly installments. This compensation is subject to all federal, state and local taxes.

(c) The mayor and council members are entitled to reimbursement for all expenses incurred in the exercise of their responsibilities on behalf of the city. The mayor and council members shall follow the procedures established by the city for all city employees for reimbursements.

(d) The mayor and council shall be eligible to participate in the city's 457 deferred compensation plan for employees; provided, however, that the city will not match or make any deposits into an account on behalf of the mayor and council members for any deposits or contributions made by the mayor or council members.

(e) As part of the budget process, city staff shall conduct a review and comparison of mayor and council salaries with other state municipalities of similar size every four years, beginning in 2010.

(Ord. No. 905, § 1, 8-16-2007)

Editor's note: Ord. No. 905, § 1, adopted August 16, 2007, amended § 2-23 in its entirety to read as herein set out. Formerly, § 2-23 pertained to salaries; reimbursements, and derived from Ord. No. 765, adopted September 6, 2001.

This section shall become effective January 1, 2008.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:26am.

Your cut and paste would be much more meaningful had you included the compensation of department heads and deputies, but by only covering Mayor and Council are you implying that the city staff are both overworked and understaffed?

Heaven forbid that you are a city 'staffer' whose purpose is to obfuscate a fact or two. I hope that not be the case.

opustv's picture
Submitted by opustv on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 8:40pm.

If the motivation for the council to entertain the idea of pay raises for city employees is a retention tool, it certainly makes sense to run a pro forma on what it costs the city to recruit and train a new employee. We might actually save money by staving off turnover at city hall (folks still do find and take new jobs these days.) If the motivation is to simply reward city employees for service, I'm sure we can find low or no cost incentives (membership to World Gym or something like that). Raises for the mayor and city counsel is a non starter. Grown-ups would table that immediately without further discussion. Sounds like a good meeting to attend.....

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 8:34pm.

I have made no secret I supported the Council pay raise and COLA to the workers. Clearly stated it in the 2008 Budget hearings, lost on a 3-2 against which had been a 3-2 for opinion every meeting up to the actual vote when it became political, in the Citizen Blogs and when challenged about it at the Rotary Forum. So no one should be surprised I stated I would put them on the agenda in January and that I did so.

So, you must decide if we are worth it or not. Has the idea we need to be basically volunteers produced Mayors and Councils you have been pleased with? I say that with the understanding with even the raises no one is going to go after these positions for the paychecks.

As for being just part time jobs, speaking for myself, just doing my duties as Mayor, as required by the Charter, has been consuming 40 or more hours a week. And no, I didn't start on January 1st, I started on December 2nd getting everything set up at City Hall and meeting with people to be ready to begin officially January 1st.

No, I received no pay for December for anyone wondering but have been spending money on the job. The idea I get compensated for all my expenses is a nice one, but not reality.

Also, I have some items in motion that will bring in additional non property tax income and cut other coasts. As well we will hold the Town Halls on the tax issues as promised. A survey, that I encourage all of you to fill out and return will be going out in the near future as well on tax and other issues as promised.

Just tossing that out there to be accepted or rejected as everyone wishes. I just do not want to be accuses of a January surprise on PTC or that I do not keep promises.

Thanks for listening and I will take my leave now.

Don Haddix
Mayor Peachtree City

Submitted by normal on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 6:55pm.

Guess you will be a one termer also. The city really cant afford this. Havent you watched the news in the last 2 years. Even Perdue said the budget for the state will affect tax returns. Jesus man get a grip. There arent very many city employees that deserve a raise. They sluff off and half the time dont do what they are paid to do. Just enough to get by. THis is sad. Thanks anyway for letting us know right away what your about. Have a lovely week.

Submitted by jevank on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:47am.

I think it is a very bad idea for use to continue to use these blogs to communicate with the citizens of Peachtree City.

Most people here are anonymous, mostly so we can discuss things that are on our minds. You create the opportunity for people with "agendas" to attack you personally on every level.

I applaud the fact that you are trying to communicate with the citizens, but please look for another way.

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 1:44pm.

It's Bush League at best. Hopefully, this will end it.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:52am.

I want the city forum in place so that can be accomplished.

This was just such a hot button item and a couple of valid questions were asked, so I risked it in a limited format.

Having said that I am departing and leaving the discussion to the bloggers.

Don Haddix
Mayor Peachtree City

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 8:00am.

I knew your position regarding raises prior to the election, and as far as the Council portion I would have to agree. The salary for Mayor and Council is long overdue. I do disagree with an 'across the board' raise for city employees. Simply stated, some deserve it and others don't.

The top tier of city staff will stand to receive a $1400.00 to $1600.00 raise at one percent while the preponderance of the city's labor force receives a mere fraction of that. Those at the lower end are the ones normally ignored, but carry the brunt of the workload. There is no department head (opinion) or deputy likely to depart his/her position for more money elsewhere. My opinion again, if there is Peachtree City would stand to gain from their departure.

The residents of our town by in large are affected by our nation's economic woes that are still a ways from recovery. To approve an across the board raise for those that serve us reeks of rewarding beauraucrats whose primary concern is for self and not service to the city. Further, there is not one department within our town that cannot be managed at the same performance level in the absence of its department head.

You and I both know this. If recruitment is your purpose, please limit it to police, fire and rescue personnel else this will become an albatross that will ultimately weigh you down.

An old colonel once gave me a piece of advice that I believe to be appropriate: "A good soldier can choose but once the ditch in which he is to die." It is far to early to be making that choice and there is much good to be done over the next four years. You were elected because of your leadership, now use it.

My friend, I know the choice is not totally yours, but your vote will either mark or stain you.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 11:49am.

Obviously, the Council being the only ones who got a raise would be a huge political problem in this environment so it's time to throw a few bones to the City staff who has been going without and being downsized out of existence. Simply put, you aren't going to see Council give themselves a raise and not try to deflect it some without giving out raises to the people doing all the work.

I am totally against any Council pay increase right now and could care less about their arguments in favor of it. The City has a financial fiasco right now. Show some true leadership and "suffer" through it, especially when you knew what the job entailed when you ran for office VERY recently and what it paid, the time it requires(or what you perceive it requires or how much time you make it require) and come back later for a pay increase when the City's financial condition isn't as sorry as it is right now and you've already cut services.

It's a helluva lot easier to run as an outsider than it is to govern. Ask Steve Brown about that. If this council votes themselves a pay increase it would definitely raise a serious question about the motivation the Councilmembers had when they ran for office just a few months ago.

I don't feel your pain.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:01am.

Valid point Doug and I have thought about on the high salary positions. It just was not formulated into the base proposal when put onto the agenda, which does not mean it cannot be a part of the final outcome.

Don Haddix
Mayor Peachtree City

Submitted by GAltant on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 10:04pm.

Hi Mr. Mayor
I agree....a salary increase is deserved.
Having served in city government in the past, the amount of hours spent is 5x (if not more) greater than the "public hours" spent. The amount of preparation rime is tremendous and most people do not see.
The amount of work required is way greater than the salary paid which is already low.
Thank you for your hard work.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 10:48pm.

Thank you.

I actually came back, not originally intending to, for the purpose of adding what I neglected to say initially, that being the last raise was in 1985.

Don Haddix
Mayor Peachtree City

Submitted by GAltant on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 7:22am.

Mr. Mayor:
Please see my comments to Mr. Imker on the blog in response to the article that he is holding his own budget review meeting prior to the retreat.
Obviously I did not explain myself well in the first post about whether this was an authorizied or unauthorized meeting...that's clear from his "sideshow" comment.
Help me understand...a new council was elected, the citizens elected that council for strong leadership and teamwork to pull our city together and move us forward.
I applaud Mr. Imker for reaching out to gather information but shouldn't council do that? Aren't these issues to be discussed at a retreat?, or did council agree that one member should pre-gather some information prior to this retreat?
Please explain?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 01/19/2010 - 9:48am.

We did not authorize him to hold independent meetings but as a Councilman he has the authority to do so if he wishes. We have no idea what he is going to propose.

Normal procedure is Staff formulates rough proposals and approaches for the Budget and other issues and then presents them to Council at Retreat. Then they are refined via Council input and guidance, public input, Staff research and such from which we move to several Budget Hearings with the public and work on to the final product we vote on later in the summer.

As well this year, per what I said we would do last year and agreement by Council, Staff formulated a rough survey that they submitted to us for our adds, subtracts and refinement. It will be going out shortly and will be considered in the Retreat proposals and discussion.

There will be Town Halls with the citizens where we, as a Council, will listen to what they want on Budget issues, priorities for the city in general and thoughts on other issues deemed critical. Again building on the survey, etc.

An orderly process of information gathering and formulation is in place which all of Council takes part in.

Councilman Sturbaum and I, after the last two years, are working hard to bring consensus, compromise and team work to the Council that includes serious attention to the citizens. It was not there the last two years.

Individual research and opinion is valuable as it makes a better final product. But there is also value in putting ideas before others on Council along the way to get their input.

Reality is sometimes you get all you want or can get at least some of what you want by working together. On some issues you give on one to get on another issue you see as critical.

We need teamwork. With three new members were are in the shaking out process. All I can say is Sturbaum and I are doing everything we can to make it happen.

As Mayor I have a lot of authority on many issues. But working together is ultimately an individual member of Council legal right of office to do or not to do. My door is open but I cannot force anyone to walk through it.

Don Haddix
Mayor Peachtree City

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 6:49pm.

Haddix wouldn't let the poor woman speak at the meeting and now he gets a pay raise in this economy???

This ain't looking good. I guess we get a tax increase too???

Vote Republican

Submitted by ddodge on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 4:36pm.

Wow, the new council has been at one meeting and already determined that they need a pay raise? Guess they are smarter then we gave them credit for. Pay raises for staff, maybe. Not to inclined when the city is in "financial distress". I am on Social Security and did not get a raise this year and probably won't next year so don't think they should either. My non available raise was because the cost of living did not increase (per Uncle) so nobody should have had increases either.

Submitted by chrissy314r2 on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 2:06pm.

Isn't it great that when the economy is bad that newly elected officials whom are supposed to have the public's best interest in mind decide to give themselves an undeserved raise in pay. WTH do some work and listen to those whom elected you. You DO NOT deserve a raise!!!!

Submitted by MYTMITE on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 11:32am.

to yourselves. You knew what the pay was when you ran for office and though some may consider it a full time job it is meant to be a part-time position. If you gave yourselves raises with the city in the financial bind it is currently experiencing you will lose faith with those who put you in office. To use the contingency fund would be folly---this would cut the fund in half--what happens when a real need is there? City employees are another matter. To many, their salaries are their only income--to give them an increase would make more sense than a raise to council--even tho' any raises when others have lost their jobs seems crass.

Submitted by normal on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 2:30pm.

Employees now days should be happy they have a job. They canned most of the great folks that worked in the Public Works area last year. Tell me they wouldnt love to come back even at a reduced scale. So many city workers dont do what they are supposed to anyway. If the city went on merit most would never get a raise. 200 banks will fail this year, 3 million homes will be lost to foreclosure, PTC is pretty much broke so what the heck is this all about. Just like obama these people will be one term only if they give pay raises this year.

Submitted by normal on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 9:53am.

PTC does not have the money for a pay raise. So whats the point, Sounds like a joke to me.

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