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Delayed Parkersburg employee raises on verge of going through

PARKERSBURG — City employees could see a delayed 2 percent pay increase take effect next month if Parkersburg City Council approves the final reading of an ordinance Oct. 13.

The first reading of the ordinance, authorizing the raise for civil service employees of the Fire and Police departments, passed unanimously at the Sept. 22 council meeting with no discussion.

Only civil service employees’ pay is set by ordinance after civilian workers’ pay was moved to salary ranges a couple of years ago.

“That makes pay adjustments for civilians budgetary,” Finance Director Eric Jiles said.

Mayor Tom Joyce said he’s waiting for the ordinance to get final approval before instituting any raises, to ensure that some employees won’t receive a raise when others do not. The ordinance makes the increase retroactive to July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

The 2020-21 municipal budget included $213,514 for the across-the-board raise, but Joyce on June 29 announced he was delaying the increase because of uncertainty over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s tax revenue as business activity slowed or stopped altogether.

While Joyce said the city is “certainly not out of the woods yet,” federal reimbursements under the C.A.R.E.S. Act have helped ensure there is money for the “modest 2 percent pay increase.”

It’s part of an effort by the city to keep its wages competitive with other employers, he said.

“I think it was prudent to wait,” Joyce said.

Council President Mike Reynolds said he agreed with the mayor’s action.

“(He) was taking a cautious approach, because nobody knew how bad we were going to be affected by the COVID,” he said.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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