Council OK’s 2.5% raises for city employees

All Seymour elected officials and city employees likely will receive a 2.5 percent pay raise in 2017.

Seymour City Council voted 5-1 to approve salary ordinances presented during a meeting Monday night.

Councilman Matt Nicholson was the only one to vote against the ordinances. Councilman Shawn Malone was absent.

The ordinances will be presented for a final vote Oct. 24.

After Monday’s meeting, Nicholson said he didn’t feel council members needed more money for the job they were elected to do.

With the increase, all seven city council members will receive $5,841 in 2017 or $142 more than 2016 for a total of $40,887. They also receive $100 longevity pay for each year they are on the council.

Nicholson said Mayor Craig Luedeman and Clerk-Treasurer Fred Lewis should receive a raise because they are full time, but not council members.

Luedeman’s salary will increase by $1,761 to $68,861 in 2017 and Lewis will receive $1,351 more or $57,386.

“I feel they should get some sort of annual raise equal to all employees of the city,” Nicholson said. “Being on the council isn’t any of our full-time jobs.”

He also didn’t agree with a move to combine the city’s human resources and safety director positions, increasing one employee, Kris Hackman’s, salary by around 15 percent to $47,500, instead of the 2.5 percent.

The city’s former safety director, Gary Wagner, resigned in September, and Luedeman said he made the decision to add the job duties to Hackman’s position as a way to save money by not hiring someone else to fill the position.

Hackman said the increase in pay was needed to comply with a federal change, involving which employees are eligible for overtime. Her position is an exempt position, meaning she doesn’t receive overtime, but the salary did not meet the government’s new exempt salary threshold, which goes into effect Dec. 1, she said.

Nicholson said he doesn’t believe it’s fair to other city employees.

“The salary ordinance should show everyone getting 2.5 percent over last year. With that not being the case, I think it needs revisited,” Nicholson said.

His concern is that department heads will combine job responsibilities and ask for higher raises for those employees.

“I also fear the message being sent by giving a larger raise to some will make the other employees feel unappreciated,” he said.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.