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Columbia City Council approves pay increases for some workers


On Monday, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved salary adjustments for some of its workers.

The council approved a plan that increases the pay for employees represented by the Water and Light Association and unrepresented workers. The pay increase will go into effect Sunday, June 9.

City spokeswoman Sydney Olsen told ABC 17 News that 323 workers are unrepresented and 51 workers are represented by the Water and Light Association, making them eligible for the increase.

Funds were allocated by the City Council for experts to conduct a thorough study on job classifications and compensation, with the Segal Company Midwest Incorporated initiating the project in October 2021. Phase 1 of the study was implemented at the start of Fiscal year 2024, which adopted increased pay range minimums.

The plan addresses to remove pay compression, which occurs when there is little or no difference in salary between newly hired employees and those who have been in the same position longer, city documents state. The increase give employees 3% above the minimum pay range for each year they have been in their position, and up to a maximum of 75% of the pay range.

The plan also ensures supervisors earn 1% more than their highest-paid employee. It also will not allow for any employee to be paid less money.

During Monday night's council meeting, the human resources department said the pay adjustments will be covered by unused funds in the current budget.

Ward 5 Councilman Don Waterman said he supports the pay increases because he believes it could lead to more retention in the future. Waterman also said since the city approved pay raises for the Columbia Police Department in April, Police Chief Jill Schlude said the department has received more applications.

Those applications include later applications, as well as lateral transfers, which is something Waterman said could be the case for this plan too.

"You know, that's a good thing and I think this will continue to do that...continue to build on what we're doing as far as making salaries competitive," Waterman said. "And, again just recognizing if you want to use the term 'fair' in that again you know rewarding longevity."

The human resources department also said Monday night that it is still working on pay agreements for those represented by unions, such as firefighters and laborers.

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Nia Hinson


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