The City Council budget work session on Tuesday, May 25 mainly concerned additional spending in the recommended 2021-2022 budget.
The plan to provide Greensboro police officers with take-home cars to be implemented over five years faced strong objections from some councilmembers, but most of the meeting was spent with councilmembers requesting additional spending.
In public safety, the City Council discussed additional salary increases for police, fire and Guilford Metro 911 employees.
Human Resources Director Jamiah Waterman seemed to be having difficulty explaining why it is not advisable for the city to simply raise the salaries of new hires without giving corresponding raises to current employees.
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy asked that the salaries for new hires at Guilford Metro 911 be raised before the recommended raises for current employees goes into effect in December.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower expressed confusion over whether the raises being considered were for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, or the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan suggested that the compensation of all city employees should be increased based on the metrics the city uses to determine if the salary for a job is adequate. She said, “We’re shooting for 50 percent. As the third largest city in the state, we should be shooting for higher. We’re looking for good employees. We should pay accordingly.”
Vaughan also noted that all the salary comparisons were for the proposed increases for Greensboro employees to the current salaries of employees in other cities and those cities were also likely to raising the salaries of their employees in their upcoming budgets.
Waterman explained that currently the goal was “matching the market,” but that the goal could be changed to “leading the market,” which would involve significant salary increases for city employees.
Councilmembers Tammi Thurm and Kennedy expressed support for raising the salaries for firefighters above what was being recommended.