Councilmember Sharon Hightower was the member of the Greensboro City Council who had the most to say about the proposed 2020-2021 budget at the City Council virtual work session on Tuesday, May 26 at 3 p.m.
Hightower dominates most meetings of the City Council with questions and comments, and the virtual City Council work session was no different.
Hightower is critical of merit raises and said she favors across-the-board raises for all employees. She also expressed concern that police officers and firefighters were going to get higher raises than the rest of the city employees.
She said, “Go back to this funding for the police and fire step program, $1.04 million. Are the other employees getting the same?”
Hightower asked if the 2 percent across-the-board raise for all employees couldn’t be put back in the budget in an effort to even out the raises across all departments.
There were two separate items in the budget presentation concerning city employee salaries. One is a 1.5 percent cost of living raise that is across the board. The other is funding for a 2 percent job range structure adjustment.
The 1.5 percent across-the-board raise was reduced from a projected 2 percent raise in order to make up some of the $7 million deficit caused by the drop in sales tax revenue. With everybody ordered to stay at home and many businesses closed, people since March haven’t been spending at the same level as was projected before the COVID-19 crisis.
Reducing the across-the-board city employee raise by 0.5 percent reduces the cost of that line item by about $490,000.
The 2 percent job range salary adjustment could result in raises for employees who are at the bottom of the salary schedule and it could make those at the top of the salary schedule eligible for a raise, but it actually is adjusting the pay scale itself, not individual salaries. If the pay range for a particular position was $80,000 to $100,000, the adjustment would make that about $81,600 to $102,000. You would expect most of the employees to be in the middle somewhere, so their salaries would not be affected.
Much of the discussion time was spent with Budget Director John Decker, Assistant City Manager Larry Davis and City Manager David Parrish offering explanations of the pay raise and salary scale adjustment.
Many years ago, one of the insult comedians, Pat Cooper, was described as “an angry man”. My own opinion is that sourpuss Ms. Hightower looks and sounds like “an angry woman”. I don’t understand why the City can entertain wage increases inasmuch as that revenues are down, and many citizens here have lost their jobs or had their wages reduced. How many city employees have been laid off or had their wages cut? Anyone know? Mebbe we just all “get on” the govt dole (sorry, Bob).
No full time city employees have been laid off or had their wages cut due to the coronavirus. Some of the part-time employees like those who work during events at the Greensboro Coliseum and for Parks and Recreation have not been working and have been paid.
Say Yes to City Employee raises!!!! City Employees work extremely hard and are expected to report to work in all types of weather and emergency situations. These men and women have “essentially” kept our City clean, maintained, repaired, and functioning through hurricanes, ice storms, and the pandemic. These employees have not had a cost of living raise increase for many years. Think of that when you see trash trucks carry double their load. These employees deserve a raise now…especially NOW after being dependable hard-working members of our society and coming in each and every day. Where would we be without their dedication?
When you increase salary ranges, those employees were 2% above the old minimum are now at the new minimum. How does ensure equity in terms of moving through the salary range? If I were 2% and someone was hired at the minimum, the employee who was 2% above the minimum would make the same as the new employee. That’s called “compression” and the City paid dearly for that practice to end several years ago, so why are they backtracking now?
From Ballotopedia “ Hightower’s experience includes work as a real estate paralegal and service as the president of the College Forest Neighborhood Watch, a precinct judge for the Guilford County Board of Elections, and a member of the executive board of the NAACP and the board of directors of the Evans Blount Community Health Center.”
It appears Ms. Hightower has a pretty weak resume to be considered to have any useful financial management advice. Given how well the city functioned during the shutdown with only police, fire and essential infrastructure employees working, we could just fire all the featherbed city employees who stayed home and give the taxpayers a raise by lowering property tax to the rate paid in Raleigh or Charlotte.
You are absolutely right
No need reducing the across-the-board city employee raise by 0.5 percent that reduces the cost of that line
item by about $490,000 if the city council reclaims the $500K they so quickly approved, gave to Councilwoman
Johnson and her group. Murders increase in the city.
Have the citizens of Greensboro heard from councilwoman Johnson AND the city council on the progress
of this group?
City council should not be so fast to handout the citizens money to programs that should be researched fully
prior to the group(s) or individual(s) receiving any of our tax money.
The entire public sector, which ought more accurately to be called the Parasitic Sector, should have its payroll cut by 25% immediately. Amid all the howling, we’ll see exactly how many leave theor cushy sinecures for jobs in the private sector – the Productive Sector.