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City employees get 2.5 percent raise

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 17, 2002
Meridian City Council members voted Tuesday to give city employees and department heads a 2.5 percent, across-the-board raise next month if they have received favorable evaluations.
The vote, which came more than six months after officials said they couldn't afford raises for city workers, also could give Fire Chief Bunky Partridge his second pay increase in two months.
Partridge could see his pay jump from $60,000 to $61,500 next month. The chief just saw his pay increase from $54,350 to $60,000 last month, giving him the same salary as the city's police chief.
Partridge was not in his office today and unavailable for comment.
Mayor John Robert Smith told city council members Tuesday that the city could afford the raises because sales tax revenues have been better than expected since the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.
Raises start in May
The raises could help about 500 city employees, including firefighters and police officers. The raises would take effect May 3 and cost the city's budget approximately $225,000 this year.
Smith told council members that he was happy the local economy improved enough so that the city could afford an employee raise.
Mike Sims, president of the city firefighter's union, said today he was happy with the raise but wishes it could have been more. Firefighters have complained recently about poor pay.
Raise covers cost of living
Sims, though, said the 2.5 percent raise is a cost-of-living raise workers usually get every October. He said he didn't think Partridge should be eligible for another raise after getting one last month.
Smith said the raise will be given to every city employee "with a satisfactory evaluation. And we will use the most recent evaluation to make that determination."
City Clerk Ed Skipper said he, too, was pleased to offer city workers a raise. Skipper manages the city's finances and monitors the city budget.