Nick McWilliams reporting – New Philadelphia council is keeping options open with raising non-bargaining wages to more competitive rates.

Council members discussed a litany of topics related to raises, including taxes, private sector poaching, difficulties hiring certain positions, and more.

Salary Committee Chair Aimee May read a prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting, stating that she was disappointed in how long the city has not taken action on salaries that fall below similar cities.

“None of us here would stay at a job if it wasn’t paying well, or comparable to the same job in another company. No one is in this to get rich, as was recently asked. They’re in it to provide for and take care of their families, and much more.”

Among the issues May discussed included rising cost of living that could drive workers away if they do not make adjustments, employee retention concerns, and many years without increases. 

Councilman Dean Holland said that the city has to work together to make it work, and that

“I’ll tell you in my opinion, the reason we’re in this salary situation is because of poor decisions made by prior administrations. When a mayor stands up and says publicly, ‘I don’t deserve a raise, therefore, the non-bargaining employees don’t deserve a raise.’ What kind of asininity is that?”

Concerns about the increases, which were proposed at seven-percent raises each year for three years, related mostly to impacts on the general public with taxes and how it would affect bargaining unit contracts in the near future.

Councilwoman Cheryl Ramos did not have confidence in avoiding raising taxes, and said that while the financials appear in place for the next year for raises, it’s impossible to foresee what two years or more could hold. 

Further discussion is expected during a special council meeting Wednesday evening.

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