PPC authorizes Civil Service to move forward with 3 percent raisesJul 24th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
A resolution requesting a 3 percent cost of living increase for Parish Government’s Classified employees was hotly debated at the July 12 PPC meeting, but eventually the measure passed by a 6 – 2 vote.
The opposition came from District 4 Councilman Stuart Guey and Councilchair Byron Marinovich, who felt that the Parish needed to wait until Civil Service Commission Director Bill Paradelis could provide more information on the fiscal impact of the 3 percent pay increase for 550 classified employees.
District 6 Councilman Burghart Turner, who offered the resolution, clarified that it was not appropriating any money, so there was no need to wait.
“If the money doesn’t exist then we can’t appropriate it,” Turner explained. “To say that we have to wait and see if the money is there doesn’t make sense, I’ve seen us pass legislation at this table when finance says ‘Mr. Turner we’re not appropriating any money, it’s approving the project’– well this is approving a 3 percent Cost of Living increase.”
Marinovich maintained that he was unable to support the legislation because he did not want to approve a raise for 550 employees, only to find in the future that there is not enough money in the budget to cover it.
“I think we all agree that all Parish employees deserve a raise for work well-done, but before we vote on this I want to make sure we’re not saddling ourselves or our future council with debt,” Marinovich reasoned. “I would like to see study done, I want to make sure we have the money to do this.”
Turner countered that, and said he did not want to see the cost of living raises delayed by a long and unnecessary study like the Archer Study completed in 2009.
“We need to address the discrimination; this government is singling out a class of people to give raises to,” Turner said. “We’re trying to right a wrong here.”
The Parish’s unclassified employees, about 87 individuals, receive a 3 percent cost of living increase annually.
Paradelis explained that he is working on an in-house study of the parish’s pay scale, and does feel that the Parish’s hourly minimum wage needs to be raised to $10 to attract qualified applicants. However, his office currently doesn’t have the manpower to complete an analysis of that scale and requested that the council fund a consultant position to assist with that. That resolution passed 8 – 0.
In terms of the separate resolution authorizing the cost of living increase, Paradelis confirmed that would fairly easy to do once the Finance Department secured numbers that illustrate the fiscal impact of the increase.
He also stated that Finance Director Lori Meyers was planning to put money from vacant positions into the General Fund that could cover the 3 percent increase.