Supervisors forgo their own raises |

Supervisors forgo their own raises

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City’s unclassified employees will receive a pay raise this coming fiscal year, but the supervisors decided not to take one for themselves.

“Morale isn’t all that great within the city,” said Alan Glover, the city’s clerk-recorder. He has several unclassified employees whom he supervises.

And as an elected official himself, Glover received a 7 percent increase with subsequent hikes of 3 percent each fiscal year through 2011. State legislators separated other elected officials’ raises from those permitted for supervisors or commissioners – a maximum 4 percent a year.

“These are the people making this process work,” Glover said. “They deserve a pay raise.”

Money to provide raises to the unclassified employees was included in this year’s city budget. While extra money for the supervisors wasn’t specifically designated, “it could be found,” said City Manager Linda Ritter.

The idea is “not having to balance the books on the backs of the employees,” said Supervisor Pete Livermore. “We may lose several good, highly qualified people.”

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However, “things aren’t rosy.” said Supervisor Shelly Aldean. The city “should ensure we have enough money to keep these people employed.”

Mayor Marv Teixeira didn’t participate in the vote regarding raises for the city’s 123 unclassified workers, a group that includes department heads, middle managers and various other employees with professional or otherwise highly specialized duties. His wife, Liz, is an unclassified city employee.

Aldean and Supervisor Richard Staub also wondered whether it might be possible to stagger the raise over the year – half in July and the other half next year – or wait six months. Ritter said that if it wasn’t structured correctly that it would cost more.

And if the supervisors eventually end up making more- extreme budget choices during the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, “I would prefer our employees be compensated but there be fewer of them,” said Supervisor Robin Williamson.

The vote ultimately was 4-0 allowing the increase. The raises will cost about $257,000.

If the city’s financial picture worsens, Staub asked if the raise could be taken back.

“I suppose,” Ritter said. “But that wouldn’t be a good idea.”

Base pay for a Carson supervisor is $22,797, and the legislators allow for a rise to $23,709. The longer an elected official is in office, the more money they make. After being re-elected to subsequent terms, they can make 2 percent more. The mayor, in the middle of his third term, makes about $34,000 a year, according to the city.

“Philosophically, I can’t give myself a raise at this time,” Aldean said. She and Staub also voted against it.

Teixeira ultimately voted against it because it “wasn’t budgeted,” not a reason stemming from “political baloney,” he said.

Any supervisors who don’t feel right about the raise could “donated it to the city,” Ritter said.

Cost for the mayor and supervisors to have received raises would have been about $6,800.

About 600 people total work for the city, excluding elected officials. The employee raises will take effect July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. If money comes in as projected, the city could wind up with a deficit of about $600,000.

“We’re bleeding red ink right now,” Staub said. “If we lose a car dealer, we can call the state and say, ‘Turn the lights out, we’re done.'”

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.

In other business, the supervisors:

• Postponed a show-cause hearing to revoke a liquor license of Bhupinder Lally, owner of Winnie Liquor.

• Accepted a Federal Aviation Administration grant of $5 million for improvements at the Carson City Airport.

• Approved a subdivision map for a project at the airport, Heritage Hangars.

• OK’d introduction of an ordinance change that would affect how the planning commission establishes the city’s annual growth management numbers for new residential development.

• Agreed to a three-year extension of its contract with the Brewery Arts Center for community access programming and services, though June 30, 2010.