Council to consider city employee bonuses

Staff photo
Pending City Council approval, employees of the City of Fayetteville will receive a one-time bonus check for $500.

Update: This resolution was approved on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.


City employees will likely be watching Tuesday night’s City Council meeting with added anticipation.

If approved, a proposal on the agenda would green light a $500 bonus for all full-time, permanent employees who have worked for the city for more than one year. Part-time employees would also receive prorated bonuses. The one-time “service award” checks are meant to recognize employee contributions to expense control, and serve as a token of appreciation for dealing with hard economic times.

City employees haven’t seen pay raises since mid-2009, and with a projected 2010 revenue shortfall of just over $1 million, salary increases seemed unlikely any time soon.

However, cost-cutting efforts proved successful and left the city with a decline of only about $400,000 which Mayor Lioneld Jordan said resulted in a $1.1 million surplus.

“Many of those employees have had to take on extra duties since we’ve frozen positions and not filled them,” said Paul Becker, the city’s finance director. “This is in recognition of those things that they have done along the way.”

I know it’s not anything like they deserve, but if we can do something, I think that’s good.

— Ward 1 Alderwoman Brenda Thiel

The proposal, brought forth by Mayor Jordan, also outlines a plan to resume merit increases to city employees whose wages were frozen in July 2009. According to a city memo, staff believes these increases would put them on a more equal basis with the employees who did receive raises in 2009.

Becker said the bonus checks and merit increases would amount to $629,900.

The mayor’s plan was first announced during the Feb. 15 City Council meeting where Becker promised to deliver more details at the following week’s council agenda session.

A few council members expressed immediate support.

“I think it’s wonderful news,” said Ward 4 alderwoman Rhonda Adams. “I think two years is a long time to go without a raise.”

“I know it’s not anything like they deserve, but if we can do something, I think that’s good,” said Brenda Thiel, Ward 1 alderwoman.

A final decision is expected at Tuesday night’s 6 p.m. City Council meeting.