City to hear argument for higher non-union pay
City managers and supervisors on Monday will present their case for wage adjustments. Council President Ed Anderson has called a special session of the council's committee of the whole to hear about the current state of their financial affairs. "...
City managers and supervisors on Monday will present their case for wage adjustments.
Council President Ed Anderson has called a special session of the council's committee of the whole to hear about the current state of their financial affairs.
"The non-union personnel at the city of Superior feels that a number of positions within city government are out of market," said Mayor Dave Ross.
Earlier this year, Ross proposed a budget that would have placed certain non-union within 15 percent of their peers in seven other Wisconsin communities. He decided to withdraw the pay increases rather than have them hold up the biennial city budget when councilors may not agree the pay raises are necessary.
Anderson said he decided to hold the special session after a member of the city's human resources committee approached him.
"The human resources committee felt that there were issues that the entire council should listen to," Anderson said. Initially, they wanted that to be in closed session, but after reviewing the matter, I just didn't see that we had any information to take into a closed session. But I did think that it was important that the council listen to proposals that non-representeds have been developing. I thought it fairest to both councilors and employees to keep it as open as possible."
Anderson scheduled a public meeting for 4:30 p.m. Monday in Room 201 of the Government Center.
Non-union employees will make a presentation to the council to explain why they believe the salary scale for some positions should be adjusted.
"Our police chief and fire chief have complained about this issue of compaction, where non-union people are offered new positions or they're offered promotions (and) in some cases they make less than the position they held as a person in the union," Ross said. "In cases where they're offered promotions, the dollars aren't enough to motivate them to take the new position -- a case in point -- our new assistant police chief, Chuck LaGesse. If we hadn't made him a ... close to a top step salary offer to take the assistant police chief's position, he would have seen little or no increase in his pay to go from a captain to the assistant police chief. We have that issue with three of our (fire department) battalion chiefs where pay scales between rank and file and those non-union supervisory positions, there's very few dollars."
That can make it difficult to convince people to take promotions or to fill positions, Ross has said. The proposal would bring all non-union staff to within 15 percent of their counterparts in seven similarly-sized Wisconsin cities.
The committee of the whole meeting is a fact-finding mission, Anderson said.
"I think it is our intention to listen to their proposals, so that we have an understanding of what it is they're proposing, what positions they are proposing should be adjusted and why," he said. "What is the basis for them claiming that they are under paid?"
Ross said the proposal would cost the city about $71,000 to improve the salaries of those most severely behind their peers.
"I believe the gripe that non-union has is very legitimate," Ross said. "This is a very, very small step toward improving their salary picture in relation to their non-union counterparts."
Shelley Nelson can be reached at (715) 395-5022 or email@example.com .