The 2021-2022 City of Greensboro budget unofficially increased by about $1 million at the City Council work session on Monday, June 7.

The manager’s recommended budget totaled a little over $617 million, but the budget presented to the City Council for approval on Tuesday, June 15 will total over $618 million.

No other meetings are scheduled before that vote on June 15, but one major issue is still undecided.  The manager’s recommended budget included $100,000 to start moving city employees from the current merit pay plan, where raises are determined by an employee’s evaluation, to a step pay plan, where all the employees on the same step receive the same salary increase.

At the June 7 work session it appeared that the City Council was split four to four on beginning the implementation of the step plan.  Mayor Nancy Vaughan and City Councilmembers Justin Outling, Nancy Hoffmann and Marikay Abuzuaiter all spoke against implementing the step plan.

Councilmembers Sharon Hightower, Michelle Kennedy, Goldie Wells and Tammi Thurm all spoke in favor of it.  Thurm’s support came only after she was assured by City Manager David Parrish that the City Council could go back to the merit system next year.

Councilmember Yvonne Johnson was absent from the meeting.

It’s an interesting split because the city employees, according to a survey, are decidedly in favor of the current merit plan.  At the meeting on June 1, councilmembers in favor of the step plan complained that not enough employees had responded to the survey for it to be valid.  At this meeting, Assistant City Manager Larry Davis explained that over 50 percent of the employees who would be involved in making the transition had responded to the survey and that 56 percent were in favor of the current merit system and only 22 percent were in favor of the step plan, with 22 percent undecided.

Hightower, who is one of the main proponents of the step plan, tried to count the undecided as in favor of the step plan, but that didn’t go over well with her fellow councilmembers.

It was somewhat unclear how or when this budget item would be decided.