After we ran this story, on the 2.5 percent raise required in city code, the calls and emails increased.
But former mayor Victor Ashe took up the issue in the Shopper News. He said that, rare as the raises are, they won’t be changed anytime soon:
Very few cities have such an assured pay raise written into their ordinances. While city employees naturally love it, taxpayers should be concerned as such a guarantee (despite the merit of city employees who are overwhelmingly dedicated, hard-working persons) does not take into account economic changes and financial difficulties.
It was an ugly scene in 1982 when a blue flu was threatened by then-police officers (all now retired) if the mayor did not agree to demands. Firefighters were along for the demands, too.
And now the politics of changing it are such that only a total recession would trigger its repeal.
– snip –
Less media attention has been given to the city pension plan which guarantees a 3 percent annual increase to all retired city employees, which is more than the 2.5 percent increase for working employees.
Mayor Rogero and council skipped dealing with that issue in the pension reform package, so the drain on the city treasury continues. It would take a charter vote by city residents to change this. The pay raise can be changed by a vote of city council, which effectively means it is up for consideration annually.
It will not change this year or for many years to come.