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Pay adjustment for city employees passes

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Half percent cost-of-living boost should take effect in January if funds available

City of Roswell employees should receive a slight pay increase after the holidays.

A City Council vote during a Thursday night meeting cleared the way for employees to receive a 0.5 percent cost-of-living increase in January.

Also as part of approval of the approved resolution, the city has been authorized to implement a revised classification and compensation plan for its employees, which number about 660. The final version of the plan is expected to be ready by February and implemented by July 1 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, provided the city and its three unions can reach agreements by those time frames.

The pay adjustment is to catch up for years when the full cost-of-living increases could not be given, City Manager Joe Neeb said.

“This is something that we had talked about with cost-of-living adjustments and inflation,” Neeb said. “Since 2014, we were just shy of that inflationary amount by half of a percent, so this will allow for a mid-year scale (adjustment) to begin in January.”

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No dollar amount associated with the pay adjustment or the new compensation plan was provided at the meeting or in agenda documents. Neeb indicated that the 0.5 percent adjustment will occur in January provided the city has the funds available, which staff previously have said is likely.

The city revised classification and compensation plan — or grade and step scale plan— establishes classifications for types of positions and minimum and maximum salary ranges within those classifications. It also provides information to employees on how they can move to different grades or different pay scales within the grades.

According to Neeb and Councilor Caleb Grant, who chairs the City Council Finance Committee, the aim of the revised plan is to improve city efforts to retain and attract employees by increasing the opportunities for pay growth as experience, skills and knowledge are gained. For example, the number of steps within each pay grade has increased, thereby growing the spread between minimum and maximum pay within one grade from about 20 percent to 40 percent.

The resolution also allows for market studies and cost-of-living studies to plan for future pay increases.

“So it establishes the plan and gives us the ability to move it into the future and allows us to negotiate with the unions,” said Neeb.

The City Council took many other actions during the meeting.

A previous article reported on two Council votes, the approval of a four-year lease for the Boys and Girls Club on a city-owned building on South Garden Avenue and a 5-3 vote that resulted in the rejection of a proposed ordinance to allow larger off-highway vehicles, sometimes referred to as Utility Truck Vehicles, on paved streets. That proposal fell just short of the six votes needed to change city ordinances.

Other votes included the following.

• Two liquor licenses were granted. One allows a Carlsbad-based craft brewer, Milton’s Brewing LLC, to sell beer in a taproom behind Stellar Coffee on North Main Street. The other permits new company shareholders to be added to an existing liquor license for Tia Juana’s Mexican Grille and Cantina Inc. on North Main Street.

• An updated Americans Disabilities Act Transition plan was approved. A plan is required to be submitted to the New Mexico Department of Transportation for all cities receiving federal highway funds.

• The council voted to allow for the clean up of about 52 properties and condemnations of seven properties.

• Seven renewals and amendments to leases of facilities at the Roswell International Air Center passed.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.