Bonuses OK’d for city workers

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston City Council approved $300 bonuses for city staff in a split vote, Monday.
“Our city people work an awful lot – they do an awful lot for us,” said Mayor Steve Percival, who recommended the bonuses. “They do the heavy lifting around here.”
Percival and council members Eric Haven, Sue Wylie, and David Marsh voted in favor of the bonuses. Council members Jason Kneisc, Sharron Cattalo and Richard Detkowski voted “no.”
The bonuses will go to the city treasurer, building head, clerk, administrative assistant, DPW supervisor, and DPW fulltime employee – $1,800 total.
Money is available due to City Manager Carol Eberhardt’s resignation earlier this year, and other departments came in under budget, Percival said.
“We are much better off than where we thought we would be,” he said.
Catallo said she needed more information.
“It’s like we have this little pile of money we’re trying to get rid of,” Catallo said.”I’m just not sure, without having some advice from our accountant, we’re doing the right thing.”
Haven said the one-time bonuses would send a message to staff the city cares.
“We do have the money – we’ve been saving it because of what’s going on,” Haven said. “With the stress level borne by the staff, it’s realistic to compensate them.”
Kneisc said he would have supported the proposal if it would have been stipulated on review by the city accountant.
Catallo said the issue should go to the city budget committee before being presented to council.
“That’s the way its been always handled,” she said. “We didn’t budget for any of this, this year – this is odd.”
Detkowski agreed.
“I feel we need more information, considering the environment we’re in, to make sure it’s done with clarity,” he said.
Marsh said he was also uncomfortable with the timing, but the employees deserved the bonuses.
“With the extra work the city staff has done with the transition, I have to say, ‘yes,’” he said.
Percival also recommended four-percent salary increases for the treasurer, clerk, and administrative assistant, in addition to the bonuses.
Wylie proposed the resolution to provide the bonuses, but not the raises.
“If we give them a raise, we’re committed to them in future years,” she said. “Incentive bonus only, that’s a one-time recognition for everything going on. They deserve a raise. They’re underpaid, but I think we’re doing things in a wrong order.”
Marsh agreed salaries were too low.
“We’re going to keep losing people if we don’t compete, and right now we don’t compete,” he said.
A resolution to move the city part-time DPW employee to full time, with pay increase from $11 to $12 an hour, was approved unanimously.
The former DPW fulltimer, who had resigned on Nov. 18, had been $14 an hour.