Nick McWilliams reporting – The salary committee for New Philadelphia city council is floating the idea of putting their pay scale for non-bargaining employees at a more “competitive” level.

The subject was brought up by Salary Chair and Councilwoman Aimee May at a recent meeting, proposing a seven-percent increase each year for the next three years to eligible workers.

She says that the topic is nothing new, after the city adjusted those salaries three years ago, but adds that New Phila is lagging behind compared to the average of more than a dozen similar cities nationwide.

“We have been talking about this since I’ve been on council. About where our pay scales are, and what we need to do, and it never seems to … we’re getting there, with the last [adjustment,] but we never seem to get where we need to be. To be competitive. Because I don’t think this is just about us right now. This is about the future.”

Councilman Dean Holland praised employees of the city, making a claim that services received by residents and businesses in the municipality were far above “average” compared to others in his opinion.

Councilman Kelly Ricklic said that he is in favor of making changes, but has some concerns over such a sharp increase.

“I was on the salary committee when we did do the adjustments the last time to raise up the higher [ranking] administration. Which I felt was definitely needed. I have no objection about doing that at that time. But a 21-percent increase in three years … I’m concerned for the citizens. Because I think the median [income] for the citizens of New Philadelphia is around $35,000.”

Ricklic further questioned whether or not the city would then consider a similar pay increase for union positions during the next contract negotiating period.

The committee is expected to do more research before presenting pay increase to council.

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