Council considering pay increases for public employees


By Patrick Keck - pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com



PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council will bring an ordinance to first reading on Monday that would increase the wages for city employees.

If passed, the ordinance would repeal Ordinance No. 25 of 2020, passed just two months ago, which granted a 2.75% wage increase for members of the Fraternal Police Order and non-union employees and a 2.50% increase for American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Instead, members of AFSCME and the International Association of Fire Fighters would see their hourly pay increase respectively by 2.75% in 2020, 2.75% in 2021, and 3% in 2022; IAFF wages would rise 2.75% for 2020, 2.5 % for 2021 and 2.5% for 2022.

Part of the labor negotiations process which happens every few years between the city and union representatives, First Ward Councilman Sean Dunne said the city revenues raised through taxes would cover for the proposed plan.

“Both sides would look at a variety of factors, including the current state of the city’s finances,” said Dunne. “Other examples would include looking at comparative pay for the same position in other cities.”

The finances for local governments have been undoubtedly affected by the coronavirus, already receiving $350 million from Ohio Senate Bill 310. Representing Scioto County, Senator Terry Johnson and Representative Brian Baldridge voted in favor of the bill.

“Careful consideration was taken into account for these negotiations regarding COVID 19 as both the City Auditor and I have been monitoring revenue receipts,” said City Manager Sam Sutherland via email, who has been part of the negotiations.

According to documents provided to the Portsmouth Daily Times, a wide range of workers are eligible for the pay increase. Members of the Finance Department, the Fire Department, and employees in varying government departments would see the 2.75% increase but would still see different amounts of hourly rates.

Within Finance, wage increases would go to Deputy Auditor Constance Snipes, finance clerks, and tax commissioners. Snipes is paid $24.35 per hour currently and see that rate increase by over two dollars in the next three years.

14 pay grades would differentiate their pay for paid hourly and those outside the Finance and Fire Departments. Employees of the “C” grade like janitors would see their pay jump to $11.30 per hour and then $13.26 in 2022, while “Q” grade employees such as the Chief Building Officer would start at $20.51 per hour this year and end with $21.77 throughout 2022.

Below is a breakdown of these pay grades will increase over the next three years.

Pay Grade

2020 Pay

2021 Pay

2022 Pay

C

11.30

11.86

13.26

D

13.59

14.10

14.65

E

14.77

15.30

15.98

F

15.13

15.82

16.59
G

15.63

16.20

16.74
H

N/A

N/A

16.78
I

16.04

16.60

17.14
J

N/A

N/A

17.21

K

16.60

17.14

17.69

L

17.14

17.69

18.25

N

17.85

18.39

18.94

O

18.39

19.05

19.68

P

19.12

19.80

20.34

Q

20.51

21.28

21.77

Starting in September, IAFF members’ wages would rise another 10%, yet would no longer receive the city’s 10% pension pickup, where the city would pay into firefighters’ retirement plans the required 10%. Dunne said this move is to financially offset the costs of the pay increase, a typical part of the negotiations process.

Sutherland says the pickup costs the city $250,000 a year, meaning that the wage increases would still end in the same amount. Dropping the pickup ensures there are no increased costs to the city budget beyond that $250,000.

City Council will convene Monday evening to discuss this ordinance and more, including the establishment of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, Human Rights Commission, and the continued conversation on the decriminalization of marijuana possession. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. from Shawnee State University Ballroom and will be live-streamed on Facebook for the public.

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By Patrick Keck

pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.