Cleveland City Council held a special meeting Thursday afternoon to approve a resolution authorizing the Dairy Day Parade on April 23 and to provide direction to City administrators regarding salary adjustments for some employees based on a Gallagher Compensation Study that Council accepted in January.
Council was unanimous in its support for bringing the salaries of 40 employees – comprised of nearly every City department – to the minimum pay grade, which will cumulatively come at a cost of $57,000 for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2022-2023. Additionally, Council asked City Manager Scott Swigert to look for approximately $22,000 to pay the eight police dispatchers an additional $3 per hour. This increase would bump the starting pay for a police dispatcher to around $20.14 per hour.
“Our police department was down to three dispatchers at one time, and we were hurting really badly. We were having a hard time recruiting people for the jobs, partly because of the pay rate,” said City Manager Scott Swigert.
In the study, Police Chief Darrel Broussard, who has been with Cleveland Police Department since 1987, was also found to fall below the minimum pay grade.
“He is just barely under the minimum, so he will be raised up to the minimum,” said Swigert, adding that the City hopes to move the Chief to a higher pay grade.
One option to fund these increases this fiscal year is from savings from unfilled positions, Swigert said.
“We haven’t been fully staffed. There are other positions in the City that have been vacant for a little bit. We may have gone a month or two before they were filled, so there was some savings. We are looking at all those different avenues to find this $79,000,” Swigert said.
Thursday’s meeting provided direction only and was not a formal vote on the increases, which may be approved at the next regular city council meeting on Tuesday, March 21.
Another staffing expense looming on the horizon relates to Cleveland Fire Department. Grant funding from SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response), administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is set to expire in November. This funding has paid the salaries of nine firefighters, but the City must now take on those expenses in the next fiscal year.
The City also recently authorized Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson to apply for a new SAFER grant that could fund an additional nine firefighters. Anderson explained that the manpower is needed to fully staff both fire stations in the city, including Station 1 on Boothe Street and Station 2, still under construction, at Grand Oaks Reserve Subdivision.
Cleveland City Council holds its regular meetings at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
With all the spending on fancy schools… sounds like to me some of that money should have been spent wisely on protection like the police department.
Those are two different things Joe. Totally separate entities, budgets and tax base.