Mount Sterling’s Village Council is debating a pay increase for a village employee, in light of being declared in a state of fiscal emergency.
Last week on Monday, a pay increase for employee Tyler Curtis was up for a vote for him passing a test to begin earning a certification for running the village’s water treatment plant. The increase is 75 cents per hour. A motion to suspend the rules and vote it in immediate was blocked by council Diane Spradlin.
“I think it’s commendable that Tyler … passed the certification test,” she said. However, a few things this is a 75 cents per hour raise which figures out to be, well $1,560 a year increase. The village is in fiscal emergency. I mean, I don’t want to keep beating that dead horse but I think we have to be mindful of that. I just don’t think it’s a good time … I mean, I think it’s a hefty raise 75 cents an hour.”
Finance Chair Rebecca Burns concurred.
“I do think Tyler has done an incredible job in passing his water test, it’s extremely commendable,” she said. “But like Diane, I am concerned that we are in a fiscal emergency and the fund in question is our general fund which is where Tyler’s pay comes out of. I think that we are going to be under direction with a whole lot more input by the state auditors and I really feel that at this point to pass expenditure out of the general fund isn’t in the best interest of the village.”
Village administrator John Martin said that starting in September Curtis would be payed out of the water fund instead and that the village had agreed to increase his pay as well as cover the cost of the certification should he receive it and stay with the village for two years after completion of said certification.
“If we don’t do that, we will probably release him from the two years and he could dip at any time,” he said.
Council member Dave Timmons was concerned they weren’t going to be setting good incentives for employees, should they block the raise.
“We gotta have motivation in our workers to move up too.”
Mayor Lowell Anderson concurred.
“Whether or not we’re on fiscal watch is not Tyler’s fault, and we cannot penalize our employees for something someone else did.”
The raise was put on first reading with Spradlin and Burns voting against and the rest of council voting for. Unless a motion to suspend the rules is passed, council will need to vote on two more reading before adoption.
Also during the last meeting, President Pro-Tem of council, Mary Lou Stiverson-Ratliff said she would no longer accept pay as a member of council, effectively donating it back to the village. She would still be taxed on the income.
“If our employees are going to have to sacrifice, I got to be willing to sacrifice too,” she said.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.