Harrison County

Biloxi budget gets even tighter with 2 percent pay raises

Biloxi Councilman Paul Tisdale said Tuesday the existing pay schedule for city employees is broken and how it can be changed so raises are based on performance and years on the job. The council approved a 2 percent pay raise for employees.
Biloxi Councilman Paul Tisdale said Tuesday the existing pay schedule for city employees is broken and how it can be changed so raises are based on performance and years on the job. The council approved a 2 percent pay raise for employees. meperez@sunherald.com

The Biloxi City Council approved a 2 percent pay increase Tuesday afternoon, adding $500,000 in spending to an already upside-down budget.

The city has about 600 employees and under the budget approved last week, about 70 got raises and promotions, Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said.

The 2 percent increase applies to the 459 employees who didn’t get a raise last week. Officials also said about 70 employees who’ve worked for the city for less than a year won’t get a raise.

Gilich said $500,000 will cover the cost of the raises and the additional benefits that are based on salary such as Social Security, retirement and workers’ compensation.

The budget for the year starting Oct. 1 was approved by a 4-3 vote. Council members Dixie Newman, Robert Deming III and Kenny Glavan voted against the budget that provides for more spending than revenues, requiring the city to use a portion of its $5 million anticipated beginning balance to cover the bills.

The council had approved pay raises last week for city department heads, with Deming and Glavan voting against those increases.

Gilich said Christy LeBatard, director of engineering, and Billy Allen, director of public works, received pay raises this fiscal year when they were moved from acting director to director and were approved for another raise for the next fiscal year.

In addition to the pay increases, Tuesday’s workshop looked at re-establishing employee performance reviews and the “step” process for granting pay raises. The council approved only the 2 percent pay raise Tuesday and removed from the ordinance a new schedule of starting pay and stepped increases, which will be brought up again during the year.

“Years ago, we had evaluations,” sail Jill Pol, director of human relations.

Now the police and fire departments have annual performance reviews, which together comprise 365 of the 600 city employees.

Raises in the past 10 years were given by the council across the board rather than based on performance.

Councilman Paul Tisdale said all employees should get a review every year.

“If you’re a good employee and you’re doing a good job you should get an increase every year,” he said.

Even the directors could be put on a compensation schedule, he said, and pay increases throughout the could be determined by a revised pay-scale system.

“The whole point is set it up, keep your hands off it — the administration and council — and let it work,” Tisdale said.

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