Council tables pay raise discussion
The city’s resolution seeking to approve a 5 percent pay raise and 10 percent shift of the pay range for 119 non-bargaining employees did not go through at Monday’s City Council meeting.
After several attempts to amend the resolution without winning support, the final decision was made to table it for about a month when the city’s total compensation and classification study is completed.
Councilmembers Rick Williams and Jim Burch favored waiting for the additional information, saying it is so close to completion just make the non-bargaining group the first to apply the study recommendations.
Williams first wanted to separate out those making $100,000 or more to not receive the 5 percent raise. That idea was beaten down as discriminatory and unfair since all other employees in the bargaining units were not singled out in that way. It was stated that only 18 non-bargaining employees make six figure salaries and 10 are department directors.
Williams’ later motion to table the resolution, at the suggestion of City Manager John Szerlag, passed on a 5-3 vote with members Lenny Nesta, Richard Leon and Mayor Marni Sawicki voting “no.” Sawicki had said before the vote that she could support a motion to give the 5 percent raise now and revisit the 10 percent pay range increase later.
For the eighth time since 1989, the Cape Coral Police Department received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The accreditation certificate is good for three years.
The award recognizes excellence in the department’s work according to organizational review of department processes, public safety initiatives, use of force policies and more than 480 different standards.
Finance Director Victoria Bateman reported to council that five months into the city’s 2015 operating budget, it remains healthy and on track to complete the cycle with up to 3 percent over budget for revenue and up to 3 percent under budgeted expenses.
Burch cast the lone dissenting vote as council approved a resolution supporting Florida’s purchase of 46,800 acres of U.S. Sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee in order to construct the EAA Reservoir to store water runoff from the lake during rainy season. The land purchase was funded by voters by approving Amendment 1 in last fall’s state elections.
Burch warned that the purchase might conflict with other measures approved along the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River estuaries like for the C-43 Reservoir.
“The problem in the past has been that the West Coast did not know what it wanted to fix the Lake O discharge issue and we did not see projects through to the end,” said Burch. “Only recently have we come together to create plans and projects. I’m afraid that if we come back now and say we want this, too, funding for the other projects might suffer.”
South Cape bar hours
Police Chief Bart Connelly was called on to comment on activity in the South Cape district after the first weekend when only Dixie Roadhouse was properly permitted to remain open until 4 a.m. Other establishments in the area have not launched extended hours as of yet.
Connelly did not have specific numbers to share, but said there was an increase in traffic Friday night and even more on Saturday due to Bike Night activities.
“I had 19 officers in South Cape,” Connelly said. “That is more than normal. We will not have that much presence most weekends, but we did for the first weekend. Generally, I would say it was a normal weekend of activity with six DUI arrests, four in the South Cape district with two of those from Bike Night.”
Connelly said he will present more data at the monthly review meeting with staff and establishments.
Council’s next regular meeting is on Monday, April 20.