City Manager Ken Larking told the City Council Tuesday night that an organization-wide pay study will be undertaken to address disparities that have developed because of volatile movements in market averages over the last three years.
Employees have received annual pay for performance raises over the last eight years, with the last one being in July. Every employee except sworn police officers will receive another planned wage adjustment effective Jan. 1 to account for the state minimum wage increase to $11 per hour.
Larking last night also proposed another $1,000 increase to help address issues that will be created following the scheduled increase in the state minimum wage to $12 per hour.
“We have been fortunate to provide annual pay for performance raises, and in 2019, we conducted a pay study that addressed market disparities at that time,” Larking said. “Last year, we gave our police officers special pay adjustments to address a crisis in recruitment and retention unique to the law enforcement profession. Now, we need to address the disparities that exist in other departments.”
Larking said in the three years that have elapsed since the last pay study, a lot has changed for every position within the organization.
“We have some employees across multiple departments who are well below market average,” he said. “We believe a City-wide study would be the most efficient method to address disparities.”
The Berkley Group will conduct the study, which will begin in February and be completed before the end of the fiscal year, which will be June 30.
The study will address wages only. Employee benefits, including health insurance, paid holidays, and family leave, meet or exceed the market in most aspects.
In other matters last night, the City Council voted to:
- Reappoint Robert Keesee to the River District Design Commission.
- Reappoint Lenard Lackey to the Employee Retirement System Board.
- Reappoint Katherine Harvell and Hampton Wilkins to the Fair Housing Board.
- Reappoint Michael Scearce to the Planning Commission.
- Vacate a right of way on Lynch Street.
- Adopt a resolution authorizing a one-year action plan to be submitted to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The basic goals of the plan are: 1) decent housing, 2) suitable living environment, and 3) expanded economic opportunities.
- Adopt a resolution in support of the Virginia America 250 Commission. The commission was created by the General Assembly for the purpose of planning for and commemorating the 250th anniversary of Virginia’s participation in American independence, the duration of which will be 2022 through 2026.
- Amend the City Code regarding changes in conflict-of-interest disclosures.
- Adopt a resolution in support of renaming a portion of Route 311/Berry Hill Road in honor of the late Coy Harville and Sherman Saunders. The section is the northern portion of Route 311/Berry Hill Road, running from Route 58 to the intersection of the proposed connector road to service the Southern Virginia Megasite.
The City Council also held first readings on funds to hire additional school resource officers, modify an airport runway’s drainage system, continue housing-related programs, and construct the Riverfront Park.
A first reading is an introductory step to give the public notice of pending action. No votes were taken. The matters will be voted upon at the next regular meeting of the City Council.