Some Los Alamitos staffers will be getting more in their paycheck soon.
The City Council approved a nine percent pay raise Monday for a number of employees, including the Police Chief, the Public Works Director and the Director of Recreation and Community Services. As part of the new agreement, the employees will be required to pay the 8-percent retirement benefit contribution previously paid by the city.
The three-year contract is expected to cost the city between $30,520 and $31,520 each year, according to city staff. The contract covers all non-represented employees -- those that are not represented by a union.
City Manager Angie Avery said the retirement contribution offsets much of the pay raise.
“The nine percent increase in pay looks huge,” Avery said. “It is huge. It’s nine percent. But … if you look at them together, it results in a one percent increase in salary.”
According to city staff, the non-represented employees haven’t received a raise since 2006 because of budget woes.
Council member Dean Grose said the raise was a way to acknowledge that staff has been working hard and has been waiting patiently to be recognized for their efforts. And, Grose said, the raise is not that expensive compared to other city expenditures.
“The fiscal impact part of it is $30,000 to $31,000, and we’re in a $10 million budget,” Grose said. “We approve warrants that are significantly higher, just (for) paying utility bills.”
Los Alamitos resident J.M. Ivler said he was against the pay increase, and that it didn't make sense given the financial status of city’s residents.
“Between 2008 and 2012, the median family income dropped seven percent,” Ivler said. “We, the people who live here, are getting poorer … And we’re talking about giving raises?
The agreement also allows the City Manager to, under certain conditions, change employee salaries based on market surveys and job performance. Mayor Pro Tem Gerri Graham-Mejia said though she was in favor of the rest of the agreement, she wanted to hold off on the changing-salaries part until they find a replacement for the City Manager, who is retiring in March.
“As far as establishing the market adjustment policy, I, personally, am not in support of this,” Graham Mejia said. “We don’t know who the interim city manager will be.”
Graham-Mejia’s motion to approve all parts of the agreement except for the market adjustment portion failed 2-3.
New Council member Richard Murphy said at first he had been against the item because he had been comparing the proposed salaries to those in the private sector. However, he said, when he started comparing them to the public sector jobs, he changed his mind.
“My initial reaction was 'You’ve gotta be kidding me,' but you take a look at where we are, and I think we’re on the bottom end of the payroll scale," Murphy said.
In addition to the nine percent raise, the agreement also includes increases in health benefits. When the city hires a fulltime Finance Director he or she will be under the same agreement.
The resolution passed 4-1 with Graham-Mejia voting against.
According to the staff report, here's a list of some of the employees receiving the pay raise.
- City Clerk
- Chief of Police
- Director of Community Development
- Director of Recreation and Community Services
- Director of Public Works
- Director of Administrative Services
- Community Services Manager
- Public Services Superintendent
- Support Services Manager