The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 5, 2013

City OKs salary raises

A few reach double digits

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — City council members Tuesday night approved a new wage chart that includes 2 percent salary increases for about 50 full-time non-union employees, but also some double-digit increases.

There was no public comment by aldermen after they met for about an hour in closed session to discuss specific employees and amending the wage chart.

Ward 1 Alderman Rickey Williams Jr. was the only alderman who voted against the salary increases.

Alderman Bill Black left the meeting prior to action on the wage chart and aldermen Sharon McMahon and Lois Cooper were absent.

Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Davis, who hasn’t attended a city meeting since August, was present at Tuesday night’s meeting. He apologized to the other aldermen and Ward 1 residents for not telling them his new job was going to force him to miss meetings.

“Hopefully things will be back on track,” Davis said, adding that his six-month probation is over at his University of Illinois food service position.

The approved salary increases are effective May 1 with the start of the city’s new fiscal year. There is one position’s salary that still must be set.

Some of the new salaries are based on additional duties as part of Eisenhauer’s reorganization of city departments.

The largest annual salary increases:

Wesner is doing more work on contract negotiations, etc., instead of the city hiring outside firms, according to Eisenhauer.

“He is a licensed corporation counsel who has saved us significant money …,” Eisenhauer said, adding that the salary for this position in other communities is higher.

For comparison, Eisenhauer’s salary is $73,000. His annual salary took effect May 1, 2010, and is frozen through April 30, 2015.

All of the salary increases are included in the city’s proposed $50.2 million budget, which is a 2.6 percent increase above this year’s budget.

From 2008 to 2013, non-union wage increases have averaged 7-9 percent total, Eisenhauer said about non-union employees taking some wage freezes. Union employees, in the same time period, have seen 11-21 percent average wage increases, he said.

Fire command has seen the highest wage increases at 21 percent, with firefighters at 13 percent and police officers at 11 percent, according to Eisenhauer.

City administration felt comfortable with the 2 percent across the board salary increases for most non-union employees.

The city’s $22 million proposed general fund includes an increase in personnel expenses of about $563,000. The increases are due to health insurance, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

There are no reductions in any city positions. There still will be 254 full-time city employees. A voluntary separation package still could be offered to employees with council approval.

Black, who represents Ward 7, questioned how the city could have a larger budget than last year’s “that doesn’t reflect the current economy.” Black said there are no layoffs, furloughs or bigger cuts to bottom-line spending. Danville is one of the few cities not cutting expenses this year, he added.

Eisenhauer said the city has made reductions in the past.

Also Tuesday, council members:

The property is the site of the Tilton water treatment facility and an ATV park and would be disconnected from the city. Tilton is the owner of the property, which is less than 160 acres in size and has no electors.

Black loudly asked city officials about why they don’t go to the public more about ordinance changes and enforcement issues, such as with the electricity ordinance and sign ordinance changes in which Black has received phone calls during the last 48 hours.