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Non-union pay cuts proposed

By Staff | Feb 25, 2012

With talk recently completed concerning compensation cuts for police and fire employees, some non-union city workers are up next.

Interim City Manager Steve Pohlman will discuss that during Monday’s City Council meeting, and he has fairness in mind.

“It’s pretty cut and dry. This helps promote equity in the entire work force,” Pohlman said. “There’s no way to make it totally equal, but it’s the closest we can get.”

According to Pohlman’s proposal, non-bargaining city workers, who are under the supervision of the city manager like most workers are, have not had a wage increase since 2007 while union employees received raises through fiscal year 2009.

Pohlman’s plan would do four things, if approved:

– Give non-bargaining workers under the city manager who are under the pension plan a 2 percent cut in pay.

– Regular non-bargaining workers under the city manager in the police or fire pension plans would get a 1 percent pay cut.

– Those employees in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) would get a 2 percent drop in their rate of pay.

– Those not under any pension plans but are participating in the city’s 401(a) plan would have their compensation lowered by 2 percent.

Pohlman also requested no employees have their pay cut below the minimum of their pay grade.

“Most employees, union or not, realize Cape Coral has financial restraints and they know they need to help us get through these challenges,” said city spokesperson Connie Barron.

The thought of more pay cuts doesn’t sit well with District 6 Councilman Kevin McGrail.

“We’re trying to achieve equity in the cuts because in 2008, unions received raises of 3 percent and the non-bargaining unit was left in the dust,” McGrail said.

On Feb. 6, the city council approved a wage cut of 2 percent and an increase in their pension fund contributions by 3 percent for police and fire workers.

Other employees took a 3 percent cut and 2 percent pension fund contribution boost last year.

But they also received pay hikes as recently as 2009 while non-bargaining workers were denied raises, according to city officials.

For McGrail, this is hard to digest.

“When you’re asking people to take a pay cut and someone else gets a bonus, it doesn’t sit well,” McGrail said.

But Pohlman said he’s only looking for fairness.

“This is going to council for approval or rejection. I don’t know the temperature of this one, but it is fair and equitable,” Pohlman said.

There are roughly 100 city workers who fall under the non-bargaining tag and run the gamut of responsibilities from human resources to top-level managers to administrative secretaries.