Hume questions how council ‘treats’ city employees

London safety-services director Steve Hume is questioning how the city council is treating the city’s employees.

During Thursday’s council meeting, members approved giving department heads a $1,300 bonus in lieu of a salary increase this year, and a 3 percent raise effective Jan. 15, 2016.

The ordinance was amended to state employees must have worked for the last 12 consecutive months in order to receive the bonus and salary increase. It was also changed to state that department heads could receive up to a 3 percent increase, based upon the administration’s determination.

Department heads have not received increases since 2012.

Prior to the vote, Hume addressed council members on the issue.

“You are asking your managers to leave in the way you’re treating them,” he said.

He said even if the ordinance passed, it would still leave employees “way behind.” He cited cost of living increases in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also referenced the employee insurance contribution increasing from 10 to 15 percent.

“Not only have you not kept up with cost of living, you’ve taken money from them,” Hume said.

Hume questioned why the “highest paid” employee — the city’s water treatment plant operator — would also be receiving an increase.

Patrick Closser, council president, said that individual is employed by the London Board of Public Utilities under a contract, and city council has no control.

Hume said council had to have approved the contract at some point.

Hume also said employees do not need to be “bullied” by council, specifically during conversations about auditor’s warrants.

Additionally, Hume presented a worksheet calculating the city’s expenses and revenues for 2014 and 2015. He said council should concentrate more on those numbers — as opposed to budget numbers — when making financial decisions, as it’s a “different way of looking at it.”

Hume said he was “frustrated” council was not willing to spend more on the recreation and police departments. He suggested council look into restoring the London Police Department to full staffing.

Hume also noted the $400,000 to $500,000 carryover in the city’s coffers.

“We’ve got money coming in, we’re just hoarding it,” he said.

In other business, council approved adding a recreation assistant to serve as an assistant to Pool Manager Linda Granger. Previously, council members removed the $9.45-per-hour rec assistant position from the list of positions, and added the assistant pool manager position, paid a $5,000 salary.

The rec assistant position is needed because an assistant pool manager position could not be filled, Hume said.

Council member Steve Scaggs said he thought Tony Brake, recreation director, should assist Granger as needed as opposed to hiring a new individual.

Council approved the ordinance in a split decision, with Scaggs and council member Dick Minner voting no.

Also on Thursday, council approved:

• A resolution for $355,810 in capital improvements, including $46,00o for a new police cruiser, and funding for curb and drainage repairs, among other items.

• An ordinance to amend the dates on the municipal income tax code, to make sure dates correctly correspond.

• A resolution authorizing an auditor’s warrant for payment. The $3,990 bill is for Kyle Smith Concrete and Construction for replacing the bottom of the handicapped pool at the London Municipal Pool. The auditor’s warrant was needed because the work had to be done prior to council approving a capital budget, Hume said. Council members thanked Hume for the explanation.

• A resolution to sell a 2005 Chevrolet Impala police cruiser on

Andrea McKinney can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.